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Done deal: wind turbine ban approved

After 16 months of debate and public meetings, large-scale industrial wind turbines have been officially banned by Mason County commissioners.

The action came Tuesday at a special meeting of Mason County Fiscal Court. During the meeting, the 26-page ordinance was given final approval to restrict large-scale turbines from any area of the county other than heavy industrial zones.

Those heavy industrial zones are located in the areas of East Kentucky Power Cooperative’s Spurlock station and the Carmeuse Lime and Stone mine in eastern Mason County.

The debate over the possible location of a wind turbine farm in May’s Lick divided the community and caused two companies, Duke Energy Renewables and NextEra Energy Resources to officially discontinued potential wind turbine projects in the county in May of this year.

Ordinance 14-09 is based on the facts and findings of the Mason County Joint Planning Commission. The recommendations were the culmination of months of discussion, public meetings and a trip to an Indiana wind farm by JPC board members.

In summary, the ordinance will ban large-scale industrial wind turbines in the county, except in already designated industrial zones. The ordinance will allow mid to small scale turbines for accessory use at a principal site, not for the purpose of sending the energy across electric transmission lines.

The Maysville Board of Commissioners has also taken steps to approve its own ordinance, adopted from the same JPC findings, to prohibit large scale industrial wind turbines within the city.

Although city officials haven’t given final approval to the city ordinance, that action is expected to take place at the Oct. 13 meeting, Tuesday’s action by the fiscal court virtually guarantees the ban because city commissioners are not expected to vote against the findings of the Joint Planning Commission.

County commissioners also gave final approve to Ordinance 14-10 banning residential treatment centers from locating in agricultural areas of the county. The ordinance also puts more restrictions on impound lots and salvage yards.

The matter of a residential treatment center locating in the county came before the Joint Planning Commission last month after Minerva residents learned a private company was considering locating in the community.

The JPC amended the language of its Land Use Management ordinance to exclude such facilities from locating in agricultural areas of Mason County, limiting them to general business and light industrial zones.

The Maysville Board of Commissioners is expected to give final approval to a similar ordinance during the October meeting of commissioners.