May 5, 2012

Swauk Valley Ranch wind project under review

By MIKE JOHNSTON senior writer, 3 May 2012

A proposed development agreement between Kittitas County government and Swauk Valley Ranch LLC is available for public review and involves the ranch building five wind-power turbines.

Swauk Creek Ranch LLC owns 3,865 acres northwest of Ellensburg: west of Hayward Road, north of Horlick Road, east of state Route 10 and south of Lambert Road.

The three families owning the ranch lands want to construct up to five wind-powered electrical generating turbines atop towers that are 300 feet high from the ground to the tip of a vertically extended blade.

The ranch plans to place the towers within a 40-acre development site, with the genereated power going into the Puget Sound Energy distribution system.

Kittitas County commissioners, in a 2-1 vote in late October 2011, approved the designation of a 380-acre plot within the ranch as part of the county’s wind-power development overlay zone. The 40-acre project area is within the 380-acre overlay zone.

The extension of the overlay zone was a required action needed to allow the erection of turbine towers that are larger than the county’s 125-foot limit for projects falling into the county’s small-wind project ordinance.


The development agreement, according to county ordinance, is a legally binding contract-like document required to outline in detail what the project proponents must do in the construction, operation and decommissioning of the project site.

It also outlines responsibilities of county government toward the project.

The agreement was recently finalized between attorneys representing the ranch owners and the county Prosecutor’s Office in cooperation with the county Community Development Services office.

County Planner Dan Valoff said public comments – written or emailed – on the agreement can be submitted to the CDS office through May 18, and comments received after that date will be added to the public record going to the county commissioners.

Public comments also will be taken by county commissioners at a future public hearing on the development agreement.

A mid-June date is being sought for the formal public hearing before commissioners.

To read the development agreement

Go online to the Kittitas County government website at: and click on “DA-12-00001 Swauk Wind Project,” then choose the documents desired to be opened or downloaded, including the proposed development agreement.

Contact the county Community Development Services office at 925-7506, or drop in at 411 N. Ruby St., Ellensburg, for a copy of the agreement.

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