Following a day long public hearing, the Board of El Paso County Commissioners gave its approval Thursday to a zoning request that will clear the way for the development of a large wind farm in eastern El Paso County.
Commissioners noted that the nearly 10 hour public hearing was indicative of the difficult balancing required to respect the private property rights of both landowners who will receive revenue from the wind towers and their neighbors who object to the changes the wind towers will bring to the landscape of the eastern plains.
“I don’t think there has ever been a more difficult land use decision in the six years I’ve been on this board,” commented Commissioner Amy Lathen. “Commissioner Dennis Hisey added, “If this wasn’t a difficult decision we wouldn’t be here at 8:00 o’clock. We want to respect the property rights of landowners who have signed agreements with Golden West and will receive payments for use of their land as well as those on the other side of the fence who object.”
Before voting approval Commissioners added requirements that none of the towers can be closer than a quarter of a mile to homes of people who have not signed agreements. They also added additional requirements to insure timely decommissioning and removal of the towers if they are taken out of service.
The Commissioners vote was 3 to 1 with Commissioner Amy Lathen opposed and Commissioner Darryl Glenn excused.
The wind farm will consist of approximately 150 turbine generators located on sites over 30,000 acres generally east and south of Calhan.