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Clinton zoning panel restricts wind farms

Opponents to earlier announced plans for a wind farm in Clinton County have scored a victory in terms of zoning rules concerning the turbines.

Bruce Burdick, chairman of Concerned Citizens of Clinton County, said the county’s zoning board acted Thursday night on an ordinance related to wind farms. NextEra Energy Resources Inc., of Florida, had earlier revealed an intent to place a series of turbines in the county.

Burdick, who formerly served as the zoning board’s chairman, attended the meeting. The panel’s decision, he said, effectively cancels out a portion of the ordinance covering wind farms. Clinton County requires building permits.

“They installed a provision that allowed for much smaller (wind) towers of 100 feet to 120 feet,” Burdick said. “It would actually be reduced wattage.”

He added that any effort by NextEra to build a wind farm in the county would now “have to be a different scale. … It would have to be much, much smaller.”

However, the approving vote from the nine-member board may actually have been moot – as NextEra announced earlier Thursday it has chosen to back out of a program of wind farms in Clinton County. No reasons were given, and a company representative could not be reached for additional comment Friday.

The firm instead is concentrating its focus the rest of the year on finishing a 97-turbine Osborn Wind Farm in DeKalb County, where no zoning exists and necessary permission for construction was obtained from the impacted townships. Opposition, nonetheless, surfaced once the project was announced and remains evident in parts of the county.

A map in one of NextEra’s management offices at the DeKalb County site does not depict any plans to locate turbines in Clinton County. The turbines going up in DeKalb County range from 400 feet to 500 feet tall.

According to Burdick, more than 100 people attended the zoning session in Plattsburg, Missouri, – with 40 speaking out against the endeavor.