BIGFORK – A 77 foot tall wind turbine was at the center of debate as tensions ran high almost from the get-go during a Thursday Bigfork Land Use Advisory Committee meeting.
Property owners E.S of Bigfork LLC want to add a wind turbine at the new Flathead Lake Brewing Company Pub House to make the new facility more energy efficient.
The proposed turbine isn’t like the giant towers with three blades seen at wind farms, this one spins on a vertical axis and is much smaller.
“What we’re talking about here today is one turbine, not a big industrial turbine that’s called the ‘giant’,” Sandy Clark said.
The owners of the building are working toward Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum certification, and a wind turbine would give them more points toward that goal.
But, may at the meeting voiced concerns about how the turbine would impact the view, with one person describing the is as “visual pollution.” There were also concerns voiced over its potential impacts to birds – as well as doubts about the amount of energy that could be captured.
A ballpark estimate given hovers around $600 a year in savings. But then in the midst of public comment, Sandy Clark announced that they would be withdrawing the application for the time being.
“We want to make sure most of the people here are happy with what we’re doing and are behind it and if it means us taking one part of the project away for right now in order for everyone to feel comfortable, it’s the community first and that’s what we’ll do,” Clark said.
She added they plan on having a wind study conducted, while also doing some more research on the impacts to wildlife in the area before they re-apply for the conditional use permit.
Although most of the comments at the meeting were against the wind turbine, the vast majority of folks did praise the new brewery building.
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