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Public hearing scheduled on windmill turbines

Nebraska City, Neb. – Otoe County’s 12-page document intended to govern windmill electricity generators is scheduled for a final public hearing at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the Syracuse City Hall.

Otoe County Zoning Administrator David Schmitz said he believes the proposed regulations provide a fair balance between the concerns of homeowners and openness for wind turbines.

He said Otoe County has so many houses ideal locations for windmill generators are limited.
“It’s probably not the best place for a huge wind farm, but the county would like to have one,” he said.

He said new wind farms not only generate electricity, but personal property taxes for county governments. The regulations require commercial wind farms to negotiate with the county regarding the cost of road and bridge work linked to the development.

The regulations include how far from a house a wind turbine generator can be built and how loud it can be.
It also pertains to small wind energy systems.

On properties from five to 20 acres the tower height shall be from 40 to 120 feet and no part shall be closer than 50 feet of the property line.

No small wind system may be built without first notifying the local utility. Additional notification is required when more than 25 kilowatts will be generated.

Wind energy permits will cost $250.

Schmitz said the regulations also address the issue of shadow flicker.
During certain parts of the year, the sun may be positioned in a way to cast a shadow on nearby residences.
Schmitz said turbines are to be situated in a way to minimize shadow flicker and situated so flicker impacts will not exceed 30 hours per year.

Due to density of housing in the county’s transitional agriculture zone, no more than three commercial grade turbines are allowed.