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Wind creates controversy

Tom Flood moved a step closer to adding something very green outside his Schooners on Netarts Bay.

But he may have also moved a step back – all the way to Salem.

The owner of the restaurant, Flood says that he is still hoping that plans to move forward with wind turbines on poles outside the building will continue to proceed.

The newest obstacle to the plan for the restaurant to have wind turbines generating power surfaced Friday with the notification that the recent Tillamook County decision to approve the conditional use permit had been appealed to a state agency governing land use.

According to a source, the appeal has been filed by Lake Oswego resident Cheryl Burgermeister over the proposed wind turbines. In a recent letter to the editor, Burgermeister said that issues of annoying noise levels, bird strikes, negative ecological impacts and the visual pollution affecting the pristine beauty of the coastline were raised at the county hearings.

Burgermeister said in the letter that she has had a home in Netarts for more than 30 years and was afraid the decision to approve the turbines would “permanently change the beautiful village character of Netarts and Tillamook County.”

She also said in the letter she feared the consequences of setting a precedent to allow commercial interests to place wind turbines in Netarts and Tillamook County.

For Flood and his partners, it is another speed bump in the plans to make the restaurant more sustainable.

“We got through the last approval stage, minus LUBA,” Flood said, noting that the recent 2-1 vote by the commissioners is just another step in a long process with county officials and the state land use board of appeals.

“I’m just playing the waiting game,” Flood said. “The process has been going on for several years. We are intending on moving forward, but it’s my understanding that some of the people still might want to go through the LUBA appeal process.”

However, Flood’s partner in the business found out by letter from the Salem-based Land Use Board of Appeals that an appeal has been filed to reverse the decision by the county commissioners in December. The request for the conditional use permit was approved by a 2-1 vote by the commissioners.

Barry Boring said that he received notice from the state board Friday. “I will have a 21-day window to reply,” he said. “A lot of these cases do not go fast.”

“We will 40 days after the letter is recorded for LUBA to respond if they will actually hear the case. So they may decide to not even hear the case.”

The plan was developed in 2009 and was part of the restaurant design, the ownership partner said.

The turbines called Sky Stream 3.7 are built by a Wilsonville company named Xzeres.

Flood cautiously optimistic

“I thought it was was great,” Flood said after hearing about the recent decision by the county commissioners. “I think that everybody involved at this location here are large pro-green people.”

The plan is for the project, once constructed, to help have a more sustainable business.

“Green energy is something we are going to have to embrace whole-heartedly as a culture – sooner rather than later. “This is us doing our part, even if it is just for doing our marketing and get the awareness out there.

“Every time someone would see the windmills, they would understand we are trying to make an effort,” Flood added.

The owner said he also doesn’t want to offend the neighbors. “Everyone is concerned about offending the neighbors. But the bottom line is even if we got the project fully approved, we have to fund it. That is a whole different issue.”

The poles that would be used to hold the turbines are already in place, he said. “They were refurbished electrical poles from downtown Tillamook. We purchased them, galvanized them and had them engineered to help be part of that design. The poles are part of our decks,” Flood added. “We were able to recycle something that was going to be a cost.”

When it comes to the actual turbines, Flood said they have chosen ones with a 12-foot diameter.

The process trying to get the proposed turbines approved and installed will still take some time, Flood added.

Flood, his son and Boring renovated the restaurant in 2005.