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Natrona County Commission postpones taller wind turbine proposal

The Natrona County Commission tabled a proposed amendment to the zoning regulations that would have allowed an increase in the height of domestic wind turbines at its regular meeting Tuesday.

The amendment, approved last week by the advisory Planning and Zoning Commission, would have allowed turbine heights to rise 15 feet above the current 45-foot maximum in certain zoning districts as a permitted use, planning director Gene Wallace told commissioners.

It also would have allowed the taller towers in the Casper Mountain residential districts on a conditional use basis, meaning a resident would need to apply for and receive a conditional use permit to erect one of these towers, Wallace said.

But Commissioner Bill McDowell expressed concerns about permitting the use of the taller towers because they would require larger buffered areas, or “setbacks,” so not to affect neighbors in suburban residential districts.

McDowell made a motion to table the proposal so he could have the opportunity to look at a 60-foot tower and look at properties of suburban residential districts, he said.

“My intent is if you start increasing the height, then the setback to the [property] line is not as big as the impact on the neighboring residents,” he said.

After the commission tabled the proposal, Commissioner Terry Wingerter said the taller turbines could affect the scenic view of Casper Mountain. “I want to make sure we protect our mountain.”