BONNEVILLE COUNTY – At the end of last night’s Planning and Zoning meeting, Ridgeline Energy learned that it’s proposed Meadow Creek wind farm was rejected.
Board members debated until nearly midnight, but ultimately decided the main problem with Ridgeline’s proposal was that it would not allow future residential development near the project.
“Their argument was that if you have windmills full length along that ridge line, that it creates a fence or a wall that prohibits development from moving through,” explains Bonneville County Zoning Administrator, Steve Serr.
During the hearing, board members thought there were issues that needed to be addressed in the ordinance itself. Those issues were taken up in the work session following the hearing.
“I believe that what occurred last night is that they got into the second meeting during the first meeting; and started to debate the merits of wind farms in G-1 grazing and how the ordinance applied to them. As so I think they concentrated more on that than our application itself,” said Randy Gardner, Project Manager for Ridgeline Energy.
But does this signal a change in the county’s approach to future wind farms?
“What does that mean for companies like Ridgeline? Does it make it easier or harder for them?” I asked Serr.
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Because the actual parameters of what they’re going to modify, that’s subject to public hearing, review, edit, rewrite.”
“We of course would’ve preferred that we would have been approved but this doesn’t change much. This is going to go on,” said Gardner.
So far, Ridgeline is undecided what they’ll do next. They could file an appeal within 10 days, or re-file the claim in a different manner.
As far as changing the ordinance goes, Ridgeline feels that they submitted their application with the current ordinance; and it should be reviewed under the current one.
And if the county want to change it, Ridgline says it should be a separate issue.
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