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Logan Co. wind farm to get further review

LINCOLN – The Logan County Board will consider changes to an existing conditional use permit for the proposed Sugar Creek One Wind Farm to be located between New Holland and Middletown.

Modifications have been made to the existing permit approved in June 2011, and the Logan County Zoning Board of Appeals approved the amendments last week. Those changes must now be approved by the county board at the Sept. 20 meeting.

In April, American Wind Energy Management Corp sold the project to Apex Clean Energy, a renewable energy developer based in Virginia; however, the permit is still active, said Kyle Barry, an attorney representing the company.

“Amendments are needed due to the change in ownership, changes in the wind industry since approval and changes in the plan since fewer turbines will be constructed,” he said.

The zoning board approved the new conditions, which included setbacks of 1,225 feet, which is nearly 20 percent more than what is required by current ordinances, said Apex Project Development Manager Stan Komperda,

Construction could start next spring on the $300 million project, which covers more than 16,000 acres and should be finished before the end of the year. The new plans call for 77 turbines to be installed, a decrease of 40 from the original plans. The planned turbines will be spaced one-quarter mile apart, stand 492 feet high and provide enough energy to power up to 80,000 homes. During construction, about 200 full-time jobs will be added. After construction, about 12 employees will be needed, Apex officials said.

Komperda said the company intends to be good neighbors and have been proactive in addressing questions, such as the impact on nearby real estate values.

Peter Poletti, a real estate appraising firm based in Collinsville testified before the zoning board that a 2013 study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researched 51,276 home sales near 67 wind farms in 27 counties across nine states. All of the homes were within 10 miles of wind facilities, and the research indicated that even homes within half a mile of a wind turbine are not affected by its presence.

“I don’t believe this farm is likely to affect property sales at all,” he said.