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Zoning group gives wind tower project go-ahead

FAIRMONT – The Martin County Planning and Zoning Board met Tuesday to consider granting a conditional use permit to Alliant Energy, for a wind tower project in Jay Township, on a property along 40th Avenue in Sherburn, south of the railroad tracks.

After discussion, the board approved the permit, with conditions. The matter advances to the county board for approval on Feb. 2.

The property, owned by Donald Hoffmeister, is zoned “A” agricultural district. Representatives from Alliant noted there is an agreement with the landowner for the use of his land.

The tower would be in service for about three years, and be equipped with temperature and wind sensors to collect wind resource data for future similar projects in the area. It must meet requirements of the Martin County Renewable Energy Ordinance.

In considering the request, the board looked at the following criteria:

o The request will not create an unreasonably excessive burden of the existing roads or other utilities.

o The requested use is compatible with surrounding area and will not significantly depreciate nearby properties.

o The structure and use shall have an appearance that will not have an unreasonably adverse effect on nearby properties.

o The requested use, in the opinion of the planning commission, is reasonably related to the existing land use and environment.

o The requested use is consistent with the county zoning ordinance.

o The requested use is not in conflict with the county comprehensive plan.

o The requested use will not create an unreasonably adverse effect, because of noise, odor, glare or general unsightliness, for nearby property owners.

Board member Bob Lintelman read through the following recommended conditions to accompany an approval, if granted:

o Any additional permits required by the State of Minnesota/FFA must be obtained by the applicant.

o Building permits must be obtained.

o Provide and adhere to decommissioning plan with the minimum outlined in the Martin County Renewable Energy Ordinance.

o Meet lighting/color requirements according to the Martin County Renewable Energy Ordinance.

o Provide written notice before the project begins to the county engineer/township board establishing that relocating the utility lines at any time exempts the county of any costs.

Alan Arnold, Alliant Energy environmental health and safety manager for wind operations, addressed concerns about the fencing system that will be used.

“I help with the operations and development side of the company,” he said. “The fencing (system) is a new one to me, but I think we can work together to figure it all out.”