The potential wind energy project near Reading took a step forward today.
During an action session for the Lyon County Commission, commissioners voted 3-0 to approve a zoning request from Reading Wind Energy, LLC, to change 16,723 acres to agriculture conditional use. The vote allows wind energy developer RES Americas to move forward.
Commissioners voted to approve the zoning change with the following conditions:
^ The conditional-use permit must be refreshed or renewed if construction has not started by Dec. 31, 2018. One additional refresh or renewal would be required if construction has not begun by Dec. 31, 2020.
^ A series of setbacks requirements, including from road and project boundary right-of-ways to be 750 feet, or 1.5 times the tip height of a turbine, 1,640 feet from occupied residences, 1.1 times the tip height for 138-kilovolt lines and no setbacks for low-voltage lines.
All three commissioners participated in today’s vote. Previously, commissioner Scott Briggs recused himself from the issue, due to owning land in the leased area, but due to the vote requiring a supermajority of commissioners, the vote would have failed if Briggs had not voted Thursday.
“As we all know an official protest was filed,” Briggs said “What that means is it has to pass by a supermajority, which is three-fourths of the standing members of this court. By recusing myself, the project would automatically die.”
Mike Halleran, assistant counselor for Lyon County, read the opinion from the Kansas Ethics Commission regarding a similar case for the Kingman County Commission in 2010 which set a precedent for Briggs to vote.
For the full story on the vote, read the Friday issue of The Gazette.
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