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Wind turbine talks moved off agenda

Guam – It was an issue the residents of Mangilao came well-prepared to testify against, but at this afternoon’s Guam Land Use Commission meeting, the height variance request for two wind turbines at the University of Guam was instead withdrawn from the agenda – but not without discussion.

After only learning about concerns from nearby residents relative to installing two wind turbines, UOG has decided to withdraw its height variance request for their installation with the GLUC. According to chairman Jay Lather, he received a letter from UOG’s consultant Wednesday requesting for the withdraw, providing no reason. “I would suspect they would make some modifications and probably this location is not one they would want to continue on but it’s up to them, and we will certainly entertain all sides of the arguments,” he said.

It’s been less than a month since residents were invited to a village meeting to learn about UOG’s plan to install two wind turbines – one at 70 feet and the second at 100 feet in height at Dean’s Circle. However for some it was their first time hearing of the plan.

For UOG chief planning officer David Okada, the concerns raised at this meeting were a surprise at the leadership level at UOG, considering none of these concerns were brought up at hearings held prior at the Mangilao campus. He says the withdrawal allows more time to continue dialogue with residents before and even if they would plan to reintroduce the request.

“So that’s the impact of the delay is to readdress it with those that are now bringing up concerns that were not brought up before so we can mitigate them or find alternative solutions based on your input,” he said.

And earlier this week we introduced you to Mangilao couple Philip and Jan McCormick, who live closest to the proposed site and opposed the plan due to issues with noise pollution, health issues, appearance, maintenance and lack of information provided on the project. Philip spoke on behalf of the nearly two dozen residents in attendance, saying, “I’m not exactly sure of their motives were to withdraw their application. It may have been just the fact that they wanted more time to prepare to come to the hearing and defend their position.”

And while he welcomes the dialogue with UOG, he feels it should have been done months ago, adding, “I think the dialogue should help, but where we go from here I don’t know, I’ll just keep my fingers cross that things will work out the way we hope.”

The GLUC meanwhile says UOG can come back at a later time and resubmit it’s application without prejudice after Okada noted wanting to take the residents concerns into consideration. However it still remains unclear how the withdraw would impact the $1.5 million State Energy Program Grant that UOG noted they would lose if the turbines were not installed by December.