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Date, location changed for wind turbine meeting

The date and location of a meeting to collect input from the public about a possible wind turbine farm in May’s Lick has been changed.

The new date for the public meeting is Monday, May 12, at 5:30 p.m. The meeting will be hosted in the Fields Auditorium at Maysville Community and Technical College.

According to Zoning Administrator Matt Wallingford, the reason for the change is because organizers needed a space to accommodate 200 plus people and Fields Auditorium wasn’t available on the original date of May 7.

The public meeting is part of the Mason County Joint Planning Commission’s task of investigating and drafting ordinances that would regulate such a project.

The matter has come before the JPC related to a possible wind turbine farm in southern Mason County and northwestern Fleming County. The project is under study by Duke Energy Renewables and several contracts with landowners in the May’s Lick community have been signed.

As part of the process, Steve Edson, planning and zoning administrator for Tipton County, Ind., and the city of Tipton, has been hired by Mason County Fiscal Court to serve as a consultant to offer guidance through the planning and zoning process. He is currently working with Tipton officials to draft a third version of standards and regulations related to wind turbine farms in Tipton County.

On March 19 and 26, JPC board members and Wallingford traveled to Tipton County to observe those wind farms.

In addition to public comment during the May 12 hearing, officials expect experts in the area of wind power to also be on hand and offer comment. In addition to Edson being present, it is expected members of the Citizens Voice of Mason County group, which is opposed to the project, to have an expert on hand to offer comments.

As the debate over the proposed wind farm continues in Mason County, legislation that addresses the siting of windmill projects has been signed into law by Gov. Steve Beshear, according to a press release issued Monday, April 14 from officials in Frankfort.

“This is fair to all the stakeholders involved, all the landowners, residents, and utility companies,” said House Bill 291 sponsor State Rep. Mike Denham, D-Maysville. “I appreciate the cooperation of all parties who worked together to get this legislation passed.”

HB 291 addresses local concerns with siting of windmill projects by requiring siting board regulation as well as public meetings at the request of the state Public Service Commission or the county where a utility hopes to locate a wind turbine. Wind power utilities would also have to have a separate public meeting 90 days prior to filing an application to site a windmill under the bill. Other approved changes clarify that setback provisions for generating facilities apply to wind turbines and apply to solar or wind projects for which site compatibility certificates are applied for after Jan. 1, 2015.

Denham said the legislation is only designed to complement what is done at the local level, adding that local action is still necessary. He filed the legislation in response to a resolution passed by the Mason County Fiscal Court early this year.

HB 291 passed both the House and Senate unanimously by votes of 98-0 and 38-0 respectively. It received final passage in the House by a vote of 90-0.