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Draft wind ordinance gets mixed reviews

A Goodhue County subcommittee charged with drafting an updated wind ordinance released its final draft at last night’s Planning Advisory Commission meeting.

So how did it fare? It depends on who you ask.

County residents opposed to Goodhue Wind’s proposed 52-turbine wind project rated the ordinance highly, citing its strong language on shadow flicker, noise, and setbacks from homes.

Wind development officials listed the same reasons for their strong opposition to the proposed ordinance, saying the tight requirements will send potential wind developers packing.

“The requirements are too onerous for a project of any size to bear,” said Ben Kerl, a senior wind developer with National Wind, the Minneapolis-based company that manages Goodhue Wind.

Members of the commission had planned to come to a consensus on the ordinance at the meeting, but opted to table it as the discussion wore on after midnight. County Planner Michael Wozniak raised the idea of setting up a special meeting on the issue, though no date was set.

Time is of the essence if county officials wish for their ordinance to be considered by the state in its ultimate decision on the Goodhue Wind project. A ruling from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is expected in October.

“You’ll want to start thinking about timetables,” said Wozniak.

Look to this Wednesday’s edition of the R-E for the full story.