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Monticello residents unhappy with wind farm idea

The city of Monticello has asked a wind farm developer to pull together a visual simulation to illustrate how close proposed turbines would be to existing homes and businesses.

The decision follows complaints from nearly a dozen landowners who live in an area that would be surrounded by wind turbines and who oppose the development.

Officials in Monticello and San Juan County have been actively courting the wind farm industry for the past decade. The city and county have spent more than $200,000 in federal money to build meteorological towers and collect wind data, Mayor Doug Allen said.

Three separate companies have wind farm proposals for the area, and all three have obtained conditional use permits from the county’s planning and zoning board. Two of them would be a comfortable distance from town, but the third would be on grazing land just outside the city limits, the Deseret News reported Monday ( http://bit.ly/RuRB4z).

The proposal by Wasatch Wind includes 20 to 27 turbines, each 400 to 500 feet high, depending on the design that is chosen.

The turbine closest to town would be about a mile from Monticello’s Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some wind towers might be within a half mile of some property lines at the northern end of town, but Wasatch Wind said the closest city boundary would be about three-fourths of a mile from the nearest turbine.

Last week, Allen called on Wasatch Wind to create its own images and models to answer questions and alleviate concerns about the location of turbines.

“It may lessen the opposition,” Allen said. “It may increase the opposition. That’s a risk they should be willing to take.”

Wasatch Wind officials have agreed and are moving forward with the modeling, though they said they believe residents will accept the wind farm once it’s in place.

“At Spanish Fork, many residents also had concerns prior to the wind farm being constructed and since the wind farm was constructed, the city has not received complaints,” Wasatch Wind spokeswoman Michelle Stevens said.

Bruce Adams, chairman of the San Juan County Commission, said he expects wind farm development to improve the local tax base and provide jobs. But he said he will remain neutral on the current controversy because opponents are likely to appeal conditional use permit to the county commission.

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