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Supes split over plan’s windmill quota  

Prompted by comments made by the public and city officials a week before, county supervisors Tuesday continued to tweak the proposed general plan update.

Among the topics discussed by the Solano County Board of Supervisors was development in rural areas, future locations of wind turbines near Highway 12 and converting 4,000 acres of land in Collinsville into ag and marsh land.

Supervisors did not take any votes, but talked with staff for about two hours before hearing more than an hour of public comment. The board then instructed staff to do more research on allowing land owners like Don Pippo, in rural Vacaville, to place one or two additional homes on their property for family to live on.

County staff will now take the newest suggestions and comments back to the drawing board and will again present proposed changes to the board when they next meet July 18.

Most of the day was spent studying maps and going over language changes to the proposed plan that will shape the county for at least 20 years. One of the few contentious discussions centered around plans for the future installation of wind turbines in the Montezuma Hills.

Originally, the plan was to create a wind resource area on both the south side of Highway 12 – where 700 wind mills currently sit – as well as the northside of the highway. Mike Yankovich, Solano County planning manager, told the board that though both sides would be included in the map, the southside would be given more priority.

Mike Reagan then voiced his confusion on why the northside of Highway 12, which has been identified as a prime wind source, was no longer included. Supervisor John Vasquez also urged staff to leave the map as it was.

“I’m trying the logic here. I don’t understand why we’re making the change,” Reagan said. “Why, because someone didn’t like the map?”

Supervisors Jim Spering and John Silva both said the turbines are encroaching on the highway and have bec- ome a bit of an eye sore.

“To line it with god-awful ugly windmills is blight. I see it as visual blight,” Spering said. “At what point do we have to start talking about what these things look like.”

With supervisors giving staff different suggestions, Vasquez poked fun at the discussion. Staff said they would bring the item back to the board.

“Staff must be happy when they get concise directions,” he said.

Also discussed, was converting more than 4,000 acres of land in Collinsville, currently zoned water dependent industrial, into agriculture and marsh land. Because the land – owned primarily by PG&E and Sacramento Municipal Utility District – has no industrial roads and plans for a port have all but been scrapped, the idea was proposed.

Collinsville has been labeled as a “special study area,” which means some suggestions will be included for the area, but voters must approve the general plan before plans could be finalized.

By Danny Bernardini

The Reporter

9 July 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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