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Indeck presses for rewrite of zoning ordinance  

Credit:  By J.W. Keene, The Pratt Tribune, www.pratttribune.com 17 April 2012 ~~

Pratt, Kan. – Pratt County Commissioners were furnished a communication Monday from Karl Dahlstrom, Indeck Energy, expressing what the company would require to consider Pratt County a place to conduct business. Indeck pressed the Commission to rewrite whole sections of the proposed County Zoning Ordinance as it applies to wind energy projects.

Indeck’s requirements included the following:

• “All of the changes in the .. redline version of the CWEP ordinance (some 15 pages) would have to be agreed to. These are very reasonable requests and similar to guidelines within the surrounding counties in Kansas. We don’t understand how the county can justify setbacks, which are over 500 percent greater, than any other setback for wind turbines within the state of Kansas.

• “The county commissioners would have to re-instate our existing fully negotiated and executed license agreement and road use agreement. These agreements were negotiated in good faith with a lot of time and thought put into them from both sides. Indeck has spent over $1 million based off the agreements put in place with the county. We do not understand how the county can turn their back on these.

• “The county would have to remove the 8-mile setback from the airport. As you can see from the attached FAA letter dated Feb. 29, 2012, the wind turbines would not have an impact on the airport. This is the most severe airport setback I have ever seen a county implement. We are disappointed that a … small group was able to persuade the board to implement such an extreme setback without any facts or basis. We would assume that the aviation consultant, who was hired by the county to stop the wind farm, has shared this letter with you.

• The county would have to remove the moratorium on wind development.

“From Indeck’s position, it is clear that the county does not want any wind development within the county limits. This has been a very disappointing turn of events and we are not sure why the county has taken a negative stance on wind development. Based off the delays from the Planning Board, the moratorium on wind energy and how extreme the proposed requirements of the CWEP agreement are, Indeck was left with no choice but to terminate all of our land leases.

“If the county would like to meet to discuss reinstating our existing agreements, Indeck would be happy to fly to Pratt County. We feel wind energy would be a positive addition to Pratt County and are surprised the county is not working harder to encourage economic growth.”

• Were introduced to Nick Birdsong, Pratt County Veterans’ Memorial Lake maintenance man, by Road and Bridge Supervisor Randy Phillippi. Commissioners discussed previous problems at the lake with Birdsong to familiarize him with what is expected of him in his new position.

Approved a road-crossing permit near Northwest 30th Ave, north of 54 Highway, for Cox Communications.

Discussed the location and size of a proposed new storage building and office at Pratt County Veterans’ Memorial Lake with Phillippi.

•Were informed by Pratt County Sheriff Vernon Chinn that remodeling at the Pratt County Law Enforcement Center is approximately 90 percent complete.

“All the major equipment is installed,” said Chinn. “We just need to have the controls installed.”

Commissioners authorized Pratt County Clerk to give Chinn a key to the Pratt County Courthouse in case he should need access when it is closed.

• Were informed by Pratt County Landfill Director Dean Staab, the metal pile collected at the landfill was recently sold for $150 a ton, or nearly $14,000.

“If we didn’t have so much wire in there we could get a little more.” said Staab. “They have to take it to Denver because of it.

“We are finishing spraying at the lake,” said Staab. “Bindweed is the healthiest I’ve ever seen it.”

• Discussed Pratt County Veterans’ Memorial Lake projects with Peggy Lee. Lee said she was working with Birdsong to coordinate activities at the lake. Birdsong is to attend a grant conference with Lee in anticipation of taking over the fishing grant at the lake next year.

The Lake Committee presented their recommendation to the commissioners relating to a proposed new storage and office building at the lake.

• Were informed by Tim Branscom, Pratt County Emergency Management Coordinator, there was a tornado, which touched down near Coats over the weekend. The sirens that went off in Pratt Saturday evening were the result of this touchdown being so near.

• Were presented a Comprehensive Plan for Probation and Parole by Dave Wiley. Commissioners approved the plan realizing it was going to be subject to budget approval later from the Kansas legislature. Said state funding should be at the end of May or the first of June, according to Wiley.

• Were informed by Pratt County Counselor Robert Schmisseur, Chesapeake had made an offer to lease county lands (Pratt County Veterans’ Memorial Lake and Pratt County Landfill), but the lease did not include county restrictions requested. The county had previously asked that no vertical drilling be allowed at either location – only horizontal at 4,500 feet.

• Met in executive session for three minutes with Schmisseur for attorney client privilege.

• Met in joint session with Pratt City Commissioners to discuss common issues including fire department issues, Parkwood Village lawsuit, and wind energy issues.

Source:  By J.W. Keene, The Pratt Tribune, www.pratttribune.com 17 April 2012

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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