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Planning Commission recommends rejection of resident’s plan to erect wind turbine tower

Close to 50 neighbors voiced opposition Wednesday evening to an Evergreen Meadows resident’s plan to erect a 90-foot-high tower for a wind turbine.

It was after midnight when the Jeffco Planning Commission voted 5-0 to recommend rejection of homeowner Hans Sinkovec’s plan. Sinkovec declined to comment after the five-hour hearing. The proposal next will be heard by the county commissioners on Nov. 10.

During a presentation, Jeffco senior planner Russ Clark showed pictures of a “mock” tower that appeared to blend in with the trees behind it. Clark recommended that Sinkovec’s plan be approved. The tower and the blades could be painted green to help them blend in with the surroundings, Clark said.

During the meeting, Sinkovec said he wants to install the turbine tower as part of his plan to generate electricity and heat from alternative energy sources. Sinkovec said he has installed solar panels at his home, and plans to install more.

“Two years of research (into wind turbine towers) has made a believer out of me, and it’s my hope that I will make a believer out of you, too,” Sinkovec told the crowd.

But neighbors are worried that the turbine would be noisy and that the tower would be an eyesore. They also are concerned that the turbine would kill birds, would hurt their property values, and would set a precedent for more towers to be built, among other things. Many spoke passionately about preserving the views around Berrian Mountain and the surrounding area.

“This is going to look like a fishing lure twinkling from Evergreen Meadows, and you’re going to see it from I-70,” said James Meinders, an Evergreen Meadows resident.

Other residents worried about the potential for increased fire danger and suggested that Sinkovec buy his wind power from Xcel Energy’s WindSource program, which offers electricity created by “wind farms” that use commercial turbines.

Sinkovec had at least two supporters – his grown daughter, who called her father a “pioneer,” and neighbor Peggy Ballengee, who said that many people who supported the plan couldn’t be at the meeting.

In the end, a wind turbine tower didn’t seem compatible with the surrounding neighborhood, said Tim Rogers, chairman of the Planning Commission. With so many county rules governing planning and zoning proposals, there just didn’t seem to be enough supporting information to approve the plan, Rogers said.