September 10, 2013

Commissioners to hear wind farm appeal

By Terri Harber | Baker City Herald | September 09, 2013 |

Baker County commissioners will hear appeals to the July planning commission decision not to allow construction of a pair of wind farms in Lime and Huntington.

The meeting begins at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Baker County Courthouse, 1995 Third St. in Baker City.

The public is invited but there won’t be additional public testimony regarding the merits or drawbacks of this project.

It’s also likely commissioners won’t make a decision that day, said Commission Chair Fred Warner Jr.

A wildlife study of the area should be complete in spring 2014. Some of the proposed sites for installing wind turbines are in core sage grouse habitat.

That fact, as well as potential effects of the turbines on the region’s viewshed and, in turn, it’s economy, came up repeatedly during proceedings about the conditional-use permit required for the project.

Maximum capacity at the wind farm near Huntington would be 20 megawatts, from a proposed 12 turbines. The Lime site would produce 30 megawatts from 12 to 18 turbines.

The Huntington site is about 4fi miles northwest of the city and off of Malheur Lane, Durbin Creek Lane and Interstate 84. A cellphone tower sits on one of the lots and the entire location is more than 4,000 acres of exclusive farm-use zone. It’s used for grazing.

The Lime site also is within an industrial zone, about 4fi miles northeast of Lime. It’s more than 4,200 acres are zoned for exclusive farm and industrial uses.

The two wind farms would share a substation and transmit power to existing Idaho Power Co. transmission line.

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