BLACKFOOT – The Bingham County Planning and Zoning Commission denied a wind company’s request for a special use permit to complete the second phase of its wind farm development on Wednesday.
Blue Ribbon Energy requested a special use permit to install nine wind turbines between 825 E. and 1000 E. and 450 N. and 600 N., roughly one mile west of its planned 27-wind turbine development near the Goshen townsite that was also denied by the commission, but later approved on appeal.
Although most of the commissioners said they approve of wind farms in general, they still had many of the same concerns about this portion of the development that they did on the first phase. Many were worried about its impacts on residents and objected to its close proximity to homes.
“(Wind turbines) stand tall in power and majesty, but they should be in less populated areas,” Commissioner Lee Hammett said during Wednesday’s meeting. “The applicants need to explore less controversial or character-changing lands.”
Arron Jepson, an owner of Blue Ribbon Energy, said he was pleased that commissioners agreed with the majority of the proposal and appreciated their thorough evaluation of the project.
The company has 10 days to appeal the decision; Jepson said he will talk with his partners and then decide their next move.
Commissioners also discussed Scott Tallman’s and David Jackson’s request for a special use permit to build a seed potato operation, including a greenhouse, potato storage building and office, at 303 S. 1100 W.
Commissioners were initially concerned that the operation, which will grow new varieties of potatoes, could negatively impact nearby crops. But most of the commissioners changed their minds after hearing from experts, including Dr. Steven Love, who does similar work for the University of Idaho’s Research and Extension Center in Aberdeen.
Love said their identical operation is also surrounded by farms and they haven’t had any contamination problems since they started in 1948.
“I see it as beneficial. It brings new industry here and I don’t see any detriments,” he said.
Commissioners voted to approve that special use permit on Wednesday. There is also a 10-day appeal period on that decision.
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