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Commission talks wind changes  

Credit:  By MATTHEW GIRARD, Hays Daily News, www.hdnews.net 24 February 2011 ~~

The Ellis County Joint Planning Commission addressed wind energy regulation recommendations during Wednesday night’s meeting.

It came about after the Ellis County Commission suggested the commission address specific changes proposed by Mark Bannister of Butterfield Wind during the planning commission’s December meeting.

The three most-discussed areas of the suggested changes were wind turbine setbacks, notification and protest petition areas, and decibel levels.

Although Butterfield originally had suggested a 1,500-foot setback from dwellings, the commission voted 6-3 to recommend a 1,000-foot setback.

“These other counties that have wind are at 1,000 feet. Why should we be any different?” board member Paul Baier said.

The commission also voted 7-2 to recommend setting the notification and protest petition area for a Commercial Wind Energy Conversion System at 1,000 feet instead of 2,000 feet, as Butterfield originally had suggested.

Butterfield also had suggested to increase the noise management regulation from 40 decibels to 65 decibels, but the commission voted 8-1 to strike the section of the regulation concerning noise management.

“We shouldn’t have noise regulations for just one industry,” board member Kirk Dickinson said. “If we are going to have a noise regulation, we should just make it countywide.”

The commission also voted 8-1 to recommend changing the setback regulation of cellular towers to half the tower height from the center of the base of the tower.

All the suggested recommendations for the wind energy regulations now will go back to the Ellis County Commission for discussion and possible approval.

In other business, the commission voted to table discussion for the possible rezoning of the U.S. Highway 183 corridor.

“We should table it and have everybody go and look at it on their own time,” board member Ken Richmeier said.

The joint planning commission next will meet at 7 p.m. March 23.

Source:  By MATTHEW GIRARD, Hays Daily News, www.hdnews.net 24 February 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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