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Reaction mixed on wind turbine rules

The Delta County Board of Commissioners voted in favor of tentatively approving an amendment to the county’s wind turbine ordinance Tuesday. Residents of the Garden Peninsula are having mixed reactions about the change.

Patricia Rasmussen said she was pleased with the board’s vote.

“I was very happy with the decision that they made,” Rasmussen said.

Specifically, she was satisfied by the increases to turbine setbacks listed in the amendment, which states turbines in the county must be built 1,640 feet away from non-participating property lines. The current ordinance has setbacks of 1.1 times the height of the turbine from non-participating property lines or 1,320 feet from dwellings, whichever is larger – a value which Rasmussen considered insufficient.

“It’s too close to houses,” she said.

Janet Daasch, deputy supervisor of the Garden Township Board, said she was strongly in favor of the adoption of the amendment.

“…It really protects the non-leaseholder,” she said.

From what she has heard from surveys, phone calls, and letters, Daasch said she believes most residents of Garden Township will also support the new amendment.

“The majority of Garden Township’s residents support stricter regulation,” she said. “Since I’m representing them, I’m very pleased to see the stricter setbacks.”

However, not everyone was pleased with the proposed changes. Jim Dalgord, a property owner on the peninsula, said the new regulations would make it highly impractical for wind energy developers to continue their work on the peninsula.

“It will kill the project – there’s no ifs, ands, or buts,” he said.

For example, Dalgord said he owns a 320-acre block of property in Fairbanks Township. Despite the size of this plot, he said his research has shown it would be almost impossible for him to place turbines on this property under the new setbacks.

As a result of this, Dalgord was in favor of keeping the setbacks where they are.

“I don’t think they should shrink that down at all,” he said.

Further objections to the amendment were voiced by Tyler Lucas, who said he and others have been disheartened by the restrictions on land use it would place on Delta County residents.

“We’re in disbelief with the loss of property rights,” he said.

Another issue Lucas had with the amendment was the impact it could have on the development of clean, renewable energy sources in the area.

“It’s a change that…our world needs,” Lucas said.

For those interested in voicing their questions, concerns, or comments about the amendment, a public hearing will take place during the Delta County Board of Commissioners’ next meeting on Nov. 3.