Concerns over wind energy projects continued to blow through Commission Chambers on Tuesday.
A representative of a rural Davison County resident is seeking a moratorium on wind energy until further impact studies can be completed regarding the renewable energy projects.
David Shelton, who represented a landowner during a dispute between Beulah Township residents and a company attempting to build a 9- to 11-turbine wind farm asked the Davison County Commission to freeze decisions on future wind projects at the five-person board’s regular weekly meeting.
No decision was made by the commission, but Commission Chair Brenda Bode assured Shelton and about a dozen others in attendance in the Davison County North Offices that the Juhl Energy wind project planned for Brad and Peggy Greenway’s land is dead in the water. The project was blocked during a February Board of Adjustment meeting.
The $40 million Juhl Energy proposal, which would have provided a total of $60,000 to $80,000 annually for the projected lifespan of the energy system, led to concerns from several county residents. Some were worried over the project’s potential impact on property values, noise and appearance.
Shelton was also informed the Planning and Zoning Commission will hold open forums at the Davison County Fairgrounds this fall where concerns will be heard about various zoning ordinances, including wind farms. Bode told Shelton the public forums would be the appropriate time to ask questions about wind energy zoning ordinances. No date has been set for the public hearings.
Of the 75 proposed ordinance changes, the Planning and Zoning Department already plans to consider the addition of an entirely new section to address wind energy systems. Included in Section 3:11 of the recommended changes are 12 zoning rules for projects like the one pitched in western Davison County.
Those rules would bar artificial lighting on wind towers other than than those mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration, limit noise levels to 45 A-weighted decibels and limit shadow flicker to fewer than 30 hours per year. It would also establish a 1,000-foot setback for non-participating residences.
The proposals are available on the Davison County Planning and Zoning Department web page.
County considers boost to courthouse security
On behalf of Davison County Treasurer Christie Gunkel, Emergency Management and Planning and Zoning Administrator Jeff Bathke presented a request to add ballistic glass and other protective barriers for the treasurer and auditors offices on the first floor of the Davison County Courthouse.
Bathke said the request comes in preparation for a state mandate that would bar residents from renewing their license plates if they owe money to the state.
“It’s going to cause some major issues in the courthouse,” Bathke said. “There will be more people angry.”
The county has recently approved other courthouse security upgrades, including ballistic glass in the clerk of courts office, having a sheriff’s deputy monitor the building’s entryway on a part-time basis and the addition of a new security camera system.
At the end of the discussion, the commission suggested acquiring a security profile of the building to prioritize its safety needs, but the commission did delayed Gunkel’s request to seek grant funding for the project that Bathke estimated could cost $80,000 to $100,000.
Auditor Susan Kiepke, whose office would be impacted by the ballistic glass, said one other option to improve safety used in other counties is the installation of a metal detector. Aside from that, she said the Davison County Courthouse safety compares favorably to other counties.
“I think Davison County is at the forefront of security from talking with other auditors,” Kiepke said.
• Sat as the board of adjustment and a plat of Lots 1 and 2 of L.M. Thue First Addition in the East 1/2 of the NE 1/4 of Section 30, T 103 N, R 60 West of the 5th P.M., Davison County at the request of Jim Thue and a plat of Lot 2 of D. & D. Long’s First Addition, a subdivision of Irregular Tract No. 3 in the NE 1/4 of Section 23, T 103 N, R 60 West of the 5th P.M., Davison County, South Dakota.; at the request of Devon Long.
• Approved the six-month probationary wage increase of 50 cents for Planning and Zoning and Emergency Management Deputy Administrator Mark Jenniges.
• Heard an annual report from Veterans Service Officer Jessica Davidson.
• Met with Ramon Shultz, of Tech Solutions, to inform the commission about the Dropbox file hosting service that will be used to make county documents more accessible to the public.
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