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Deuel County residents fill Clear Lake community room for another wind power ordinance hearing

The Deuel County Commissioners were back at work yesterday afternoon in Clear Lake at the Community Hall continuing their work on a wind zoning ordinance. Hundreds filled the building to express their positions both pro and con over the wind tower setbacks. At the outset the commissioners removed their previous motions from the floor and began anew to try and come up with a workable ordinance that would appease both sides. Among the first to speak was Brookings Attorney Jared Gass who asked that the commissioners to consider a provision in the ordinance that would mandate the wind tower companies reimburse non-participating landowners for any lost valuation in the sale of their property.

Dan Litchfield with Invenergy, the company promoting the wind project in Deuel County, reminded residents that the sky is not falling in the wind power business and that wind power development is growing at a fast pace around the country. He says there are many benefits from the project aside from financial and that surrounding counties, including Codington, are following South Dakota PUC recommendations of 1,000 foot setbacks versus the 1,500 recommended by the Deuel County Planning Commission.

Among the opponents is Will Stone of Gary who raised health concerns.

The meeting, which closed in on three hours, ended with the commissioners narrowly voting to approve the property value guarantee, a 1,500 foot setback for participating landowners and six times the distance of the tower length or 3,000 feet setbacks from non-participating landowners. The ordinance will still get two readings before the Deuel County Commissioners April 18 and April 25. It’s possible the issue could still get referred to a vote after that.