BOARDMAN – The Morrow County Court voted Wednesday to deny an appeal of the Ella Butte wind farm’s conditional use permit.
The county planning commission granted a permit for the 52-turbine, 104-megawatt farm near Ione Dec. 6. A neighbor of the farm, James Jepsen, appealed the permit on the grounds that wind farms reduce the value of surrounding properties and negatively affect people’s health.
Jepsen submitted a one-page handwritten complaint to the planning commission prior to its decision. At an appeal hearing last month, Jepsen submitted more documents printed from the Internet and links to websites.
County Planning Director Carla McLane urged the court to deny the appeal because some issues Jepsen raised are addressed in the permitting process, and he failed to provide persuasive evidence for others.
Nevertheless, the county court deliberated for about an an hour before making a decision, McLane said.
In an interview, Commissioner Ken Grieb said Jepsen’s appeal was not particularly strong, but the commissioners wanted to discuss all angles of the case on the record in order to inform any government bodies, such as the Land Use Board of Appeals, that Jepsen may appeal to.
“We wanted to give him his day,” Grieb added.
The Ella Butte wind farm is phase one of a project that could exceed 1,000 megawatts. One of the project partners, Jerry Rietmann, said the farm will employ at least 6 people full-time.
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