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Supervisors make no changes to wind farm development

This debate has been dragging on for nearly a year.

The question is: Where should the county allow wind farms to be built, and what areas should be off-limits?

But, Tuesday night county supervisors were asked to decide whether to restrict wind farm locations or handle it on a case by case basis.

It has been a heated debate at times, between homeowners fighting to keep the massive wind towers out of their backyards, and landowners who like clean energy and the money they stand to make by leasing their land to wind energy companies.

But, after all the talk and public meetings, the Board of Supervisors Tuesday night decided to keep things as they are.

The county has spent plenty of taxpayer money and staff time trying to develop a reasonable land use plan for future wind farms.

The Kern County Planning Department came up with three options and brought them to the board.

Option ‘A’ – Using a map as a guidance tool for future wind projects, but not an ordinance or law to restrict them.

Option ‘B’ – Drawing distinct boundaries where wind farms can and cannot be developed.

Option ‘C’ – Keep the process exactly as it is now.

Four supervisors chose option ‘C’ to handle wind farm permits on a case by case basis.

Board Chairman Zack Scrivner, representing the Tehachapi area, supported option ‘A’.

“I think Zack Scrivner made the best decision for our district. I live in the district, I work in the wind industry, and being a resident I am really proud of him for sticking to his guns, feeling like he heard what his community had to say,” said Nikki Cummings from World Wind Services.

People opposed to the onslaught of wind farms near Tehachapi, feel this was all just a big show and a big waste of taxpayer dollars.

“This was a total dog and pony show and not unexpected. We wanted protection from the intrusion of big energy within our community. And, we did not want industry and commercial property right next to our homes and communities,” said Mesonika Piecuch who is against wind farms near communities.

Some people at the meeting called the whole thing a setup, but Supervisor Jon McQuiston says that could not be farther from the truth.

“Well, it’s absolutely untrue. I went in to the meeting leaning toward Option ‘A’. But, based on the testimony and statements we had, I came to the conclusion that one size shouldn’t fit all,” said McQuiston.

Since Option ‘C’ was keeping the status quo, handling future wind farm development on a case by case basis, a formal vote was not required.