Nebraska City, Neb. —
Otoe County Zoning Administrator Dave Schmitz said he increased proposed permits for wind generator towers after Thursday’s public hearing in Syracuse.
The county’s planning commission held the hearing regarding a 12-page document containing proposed zoning regulations for windmills.
The regulations require a building permit for all wind energy systems. A fee of $250 had been proposed for the permit, but Schmitz said Tuesday the proposed fee has been raised to $1,000 for turbines generating 100 kilowatt systems to 1 megawatt of electricity. A fee of $1,500 is proposed for for larger systems.
Schmitz said similar fees are charged by counties nationwide, but Otoe County will be on the higher end in the Midwest.
He said the zoning administrator will also establish standards for proper fencing around towers.
Neil Stedman of Burr asked county commissioners Tuesday to consider stricter setbacks between towers and neighboring properties.
The proposed regulations require 1,300 feet between a wind turbine and a dwelling and 500 feet from a road or property line.
Stedman said setbacks are the best protection for his property against skyline pollution, noise and shadow flicker.
“I think there is a lot of development potential in my area and this is not going to help,” he said of the current setbacks.
He said although there are shadow flicker and noise limits included in the regulations, there are no sanctions stated.“Once it’s built, what would be the recourse?” he asked. “At this point, I would just be able to make a complaint. I think the only thing that is going to protect my property is more distance,” he said.
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