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County gives OK to FHSU turbines

Ellis County commissioners ushered in countywide changes at their Monday regular meeting as they approved the county’s first wind project.

Commissioners unanimously approved the recommendation of the Ellis County Planning and Zoning Commission for a conditional-use permit for Fort Hays State University to construct two wind turbines, contingent upon meeting several requirements.

The project for two 2.1 megawatt Suzlon turbines, to be located between 200th Avenue and 210th Avenue north of Victoria Road on Brian J. Staab’s property, went before the planning and zoning commission June 27 and received unanimous support. No public protest petitions were filed by the July 11 deadline.

Further requirements that must be met by FHSU prior to construction include a transportation plan, liability insurance, a decommission plan and an erosion control plan.

“Being a public entity, they have to bid things, and that makes some of the information not available at this time,” said County Administrator Greg Sund. “But if you approve it, you could do it with the caveat that it has to be provided prior to construction.”

Commissioner Dean Haselhorst said he was confident FHSU President Edward H. Hammond would follow through with requirements.

“I feel President Hammond’s word is good,” Haselhorst said. “The university has a good reputation.”