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Bland gets proactive regarding wind energy

BLAND, Va. – The Bland County, Va., board of supervisors took a proactive position on wind energy development earlier this week when the board approved a wind energy development ordinance.

“We just wanted to get out in front of the issue,” Henry Blessing, chairman of the board of supervisors said. “Bland County already has zoning, but we saw what happened in Tazewell County, and we didn’t want to address the situation that way.”

The Bland County Planning Commission conducted public hearings on the issue. “They heard pros and cons,” Blessing said. “Probably more cons than pros. At the supervisors’ meeting, we only heard from people in support of the ordinance.”

Bland County Administrator Eric Workman said the county tried to be “proactive rather than reactive” on the wind energy development.

“The board of supervisors has been discussing the issue for a couple of years,” Workman said. “I just got in on the tail end of the process.

“Bland County is an agricultural county, and the idea of wind energy may be different from what it is in other parts of the country,” Workman said. “Farmers in the county may want to use wind power to off-set their personal energy needs. The ordinance is designed to address the energy needs of an agricultural-based economy that may want to consider wind energy for personal use.”

Workman said that the ordinance and zoning provides the planning commission and supervisors some degree of oversight in the wind energy development process. “Keeping up with the tide of technology is part of being a responsible government,” he said.

Blessing said that the county doesn’t have any wind energy development companies waiting to go through the application process. “This is something we can do to get ready when the time comes,” Blessing said.