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Botetourt wind turbine proposal to be aired in Rockbridge

A crash course on a proposed wind energy project in Botetourt County is to be offered to Rockbridge County residents one day before the proposal is slated to be approved.

Representatives of Apex Clean Energy, a company that wants to build a row of giant turbines atop North Mountain, are being invited to make a presentation to the Rockbridge County Board of Supervisors at the Board’s monthly work session on Monday, Jan. 25, at 4:30 p.m. The Rockbridge Area Conservation Council, which has concerns about how the turbines would affect scenic views in Rockbridge County, is being asked to have an opponent of the project also make a presentation.

The proposed wind energy project, which was recommended for approval Monday by the Botetourt County Planning Commission, is to be an agenda item at the Jan. 25 regular meeting of the Rockbridge County Board of Supervisors that follows the work session. The Botetourt County Board of Supervisors is to consider the project at a meeting the next day, Jan. 26.

Rockbridge County was notified of the proposal by Botetourt County’s Department of Developmental Services in a certified letter dated Dec. 31 that was received just last Monday, Jan. 4. The plans call for 25 wind turbines that would be 550 feet in height each. The turbines would be placed along North Mountain’s ridge line at elevations of between 2,700 and 4,000 feet above sea level.

Although in Botetourt County, the turbines would be visible from every magisterial district in Rockbridge County, said Spencer Suter, Rockbridge County administrator. “We’re getting the same views; Botetourt’s getting the revenues,” he remarked.

The proposal, said Sam Crickenberger, the county’s director of community development, appears to be in conflict with the county’s comprehensive plan regarding the protection of scenic views. “I’m disappointed we didn’t get this information sooner,” he added.