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Public Hearing held for 2nd reading of Wind Turbine Ordinance

INDEPENDENCE- On June 2, the first public hearing (first reading) was held for the proposed Wind Turbine Ordinance. Present for the June 2 meeting were Environmental Health/Zoning Director Chad Beatty, assistant county attorney Michael Hudson, Michael Fisher, a private consultant with 7G and Kirk Kraft of RPM Access in West Des Moines who were both on hand to offer suggested changes to the ordinance.

At the close of the June 2 hearing, Beatty and Hudson were going to review suggested changes, and bring the ordinance back for Monday’s, June 16 meeting. The second reading of the ordinance was held at 10 a.m. with Kraft once again present for the hearing. The second reading included many of the previously suggested changes, as well as expanded definitions of terms used in the first draft of the ordinance. These changes included:

Setbacks from “other structures,” were changed to “occupied structures,” such as residences, schools, offices and other places for public gatherings.”

Requirements for removal of footings upon decommissioning were changed as suggested at the first reading.

All previously suggested definition expansions were included in the second draft.

However, several additional changes were once brought up, following Monday’s second reading, such as: Further defining the usage of “nuisance” regarding shadow flickers, and set an exact number for allowed decibels; regarding any noise created by turbines.

Following close of the hearing, motion carried to set the third reading for 9:45 a.m. on July 7, with Hudson and Beatty requested to make additional changes brought up after the second reading.

Monthly reports were heard from Roadside Management, EMA Department, IT Department, GIS Department and the Community Services Department.

Sherlyn Hazen of roadside management reported that her department is keeping busy with spraying, cutting and chipping trees, and that the county shop in Quasqueton (Quasky) had to be replanted. She also reported that Milk Thistles are also becoming a nuisance and that they will have to start getting aggressive about removal. Milk Thistles are an aggressive, adaptive weed in pastures and rangelands, and infestations can reduce pasture yields by 23 percent if not controlled. The plant can grow from two to more than six feet in height, with the leaves, stalk, and flower base covered with spines. The flowers of the plant are large, solitary, and attractive, ranging from purple to deep reddish pink. Several herbicides control thistles in pastures and non-cropland, with product effectiveness depending on time of application. If mowing coincides with the blooming of flower heads, it prevents seed production and reduces rebolting, and successful introduction of the Thistle Weevil has proved successful in controlling this weed in Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, Virginia and Montana.

EMA Director Rick Wulfekuhle reported that there is nothing new in regard to disaster aid. Open cases are still incomplete. In regard to safety: security camera guidelines have yet to be completed, with First Aid/CPR the focus for renewals.

Regarding RAGBRAI preparation, Initial response plans are now complete, and meetings continue almost daily, he said. “But, we are really having a hard time getting volunteers rounded up, and many volunteers are needed still.”

Work on the gator is complete, he said, and volunteers with the department have participated in area events (such as parades) to showcase the machine, made possible through grant funding.

IT Department Head Ray McDonald reported that seven new computers have been installed, decommissioning and disposal of outdated computers and equipment continues, Wiring was completed and installed to complete monitor connection to dispatch tower sites, and that the review for 911 mapping software should be completed this week.

James Quinn of the GIS/E911 Department reported that the FY13 “Wireless Carryover Grant” was awarded to Buchanan County in the amount of $25,823 (with a local match) and that the County signed the Data Update Services work. He also added that GeoComm and Iowa Homeland Security is currently devising NG911 standards for the state of Iowa. Other report highlight include:

-The tower site monitoring/surveillance be completed, with First Aid/CPR the focus for renewals.

Regarding RAGBRAI preparation, initial response plans are now complete, and meetings continue almost daily, he said. “But, we are really having a hard time getting volunteers rounded up, and many volunteers are needed still.”

Work on the gator is complete, he said, and volunteers with the department have participated in area events (such as parades) to showcase the machine, made possible through grant funding.

IT Department Head Ray McDonald reported that seven new computers have been installed, decommissioning and disposal of outdated computers and equipment continues, Wiring was completed and installed to complete monitor connection to dispatch tower sites, and that the review for 911 mapping software should be completed this week.

James Quinn of the GIS/E911 Department reported that the FY13 “Wireless Carryover Grant” was awarded to Buchanan County in the amount of $25,823 (with a local match) and that the County signed the Data Update Services work. He also added that GeoComm and Iowa Homeland Security is currently devising NG911 standards for the state of Iowa. Other report highlight include:

-The tower site monitoring/surveillance system is nearing completion.

-Radio tower sites visits and yearly maintenance are underway, with a generator “issue” coming up at the Aurora Tower Site. Quinn to meet with Titan Energy, June 24, as the generator is still under warranty.

-Amy Kelly of Public Health contacted Quinn about helping the Department and EMA with the creation of a “Vulnerable Population Map” Map would include people who have sensory, physical, mental health, cognitive and/ or intellectual disabilities affecting their capability to function independently. Quinn