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Controversial wind turbine project moves forward

BOTETOURT COUNTY, Va. – A first of its kind wind turbine project is one step closer to reality tonight in Botetout County, but not without some controversy.

More than 50 people showed up to Central Academy Middle School in Botetout County. That’s where the county planning commission held a public hearing about the Rocky Forge Wind Project.

Apex Clean Energy is behind the plan. They’re a national company with a location in Charlottesville.

They want to build up to 25 turbines on North Mountain. That would generate enough electricity to provide about 20 thousand homes with power.

The planning commission unanimously gave the company a thumbs up for their plan after the hearing. The company, Apex, is pleased with the result, but it wasn’t without some heated moments during public comment.

Bill Van Velzer, who opposes the project, said, “We’re talking about turning Botetourt County away from the attributes that have drawn people here forever.”

Sherry Crumley, who supports the project, said, “We in Botetourt County could lead the way in wind energy in Virginia. We can be in the forefront of improving our environment. Let’s move ahead. ”

Charlie Johnson, Development Manager, Apex, said, “Well obviously we think it’s a great decision. This means a lot for Botetout County and for our company as well. ”

The company says it could be the first wind energy project in Virginia. Even though the planning commission gave them the thumbs up, there is still another vote. Botetout County’s board of supervisors gets the final say at its meeting January 26 at 6 PM.

If all goes as planned, the wind turbines could be operating by the end of 2017.