Acreage owners, farmers and other interested parties can comment on the first draft of new Lancaster County zoning regulations for commercial wind farms.
The Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Department has opened a 30-day comment period on the proposed regulations, which started June 8. They can be viewed online at lincoln.ne.gov.
The proposed regulations address noise and health issues from wind turbines, as well as setback requirements from homes and property, lighting and decommissioning of towers.
Stephen Henrichsen, the department’s development review manager, said comments will be reviewed before final regulations are presented to the Planning Commission for a public hearing in August. No date has been set.
The Lancaster County Board has the final say on any proposed regulations, he said, and could hold a public hearing in September.
The department began working on the regulations, also referred to as as text amendments, after property owners in the Hallam area raised concerns about plans for a nearby commercial wind farm.
Volkswind, a Portland, Oregon-based company, wants to build a 50-turbine farm in southern Lancaster and northern Gage counties. But those plans have been put on hold.
A working group, made up of 12 people with various viewpoints and interests on wind energy, was formed, and six public meetings were held between March 12 and May 21. Eight members from Gage County, who are working on the same topic, also were part of the discussions.
According to the department, the goal of the working group was to develop regulations that permit commercial wind energy projects provided there is adequate protection of adjacent property owners and residents. A Volkswind official has called the proposed rules too restrictive.
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