LINCOLN – Changes made by developers of a wind farm that the Logan County Board rejected in January were enough to win project approval on a second vote.
The board voted 8-4 at a Tuesday night meeting in favor of granting a conditional use permit to the controversial $400 million development.
The 81-turbine farm is slated for a 23,000-acre stretch of land in southern Logan County between Mount Pulaski, Elkhart, Lake Fork and Broadwell.
The proposal was a modified version of one from the same company, Relight US Corp., that the board rejected in a tie vote in January. The new permit application reflected changes to the size of the towers, with a maximum height of 492 feet, and adjustments to their setback distances from surrounding homes.
Prior to the vote, the board heard comments from the public on both sides of the issue as well as a final statement from Relight representative Wayne Woo.
Woo said the company sent a letter of commitment to several local organizations with regard to the $14.5 million in donations over the 25-year life of the project that Relight been pledged to those entities.
The company also sent an addendum to its application to the county board, clarifying various points of agreement that had been discussed at previous meetings of the board and the zoning board of appeals.
One of the key conditions of the permit is that it expires in five years if construction is not underway at that time.
The company has agreed to make payments to nonparticipating landowners on an annual basis and to establish a property value insurance program that will be managed through the Logan County tax assessor’s office to compensate homeowners should they experience a loss in the value of their property after the wind farm becomes operational.
County board member Jan Schumacher, who voted against the project in January, mentioned that effort in her remarks just before Tuesday’s vote. She said she felt the company had tried to address the concerns of local residents and that she was disappointed to see the issue cause such a divide in the community.
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