In The Daily Republic article dated Dec. 31, Jeff Bathke, the Davison County zoning administrator, was interviewed about the zoning issues surrounding the proposed Juhl wind project west of Mitchell.
In the article, Bathke confirmed that the Davison County Commissioners have been working on updating the zoning ordinances prior to the Juhl application. Bathke explained the process for developing the wind ordinances, wherein his recommendations would first be presented to the commissioners for their input and changes, then to the public for input and changes. Finally, the commissioners would vote to include the resultant items in the revised Davison County zoning ordinance, which would apply to all future wind conversion projects.
But wait! What about Juhl’s permit that is still on the table? Its permit contains no conditions or safeguards. Bathke’s reported view in the article was, “If Bathke’s recommendations are approved in early 2016, Juhl Energy’s proposal would already meet the new guidelines.”
That sounds like the Juhl proposal is a done deal and the county should, in good faith, approve its permit with no conditions because they are voluntarily agreeing to comply with a set of standards that they wrote and that he assumes will, in the future, be in compliance anyway.
Bathke’s assumptions that the people of Davison County even want wind energy conversion projects and that his already formed recommendations would weather the process he laid out for creating them are, well, presumptuous.
Shouldn’t the process he outlined for drafting these recommendations be followed prior to the approval or denial of Juhl’s permit? Wouldn’t it be prudent of the Board of Adjustment in the upcoming Feb. 9 meeting to simply deny the permit on grounds that it is not in the best interest of the citizens of Davison County because it lacks any conditions or safeguards?
Concerning industrial wind conversion projects, there are so many controversial issues related to them, let’s first find out what the people of Davison County want and how they want to do it and then act on their behalf for the safety and protection of everyone.