CANTON, S.D. – It was a tough night for a company that wants to build a wind farm in Lincoln County.
County commissioners approved some zoning changes.
Dakota Power Community Wind wants to build a farm with nearly 300 turbines.
But commissioners voted to put some tougher restrictions on how quiet they have to be.
Dakota Power wanted a top noise limit of 65 decibels, but commissioners set the limit at 45 decibels.
The company says that is unrealistic based on a study they conducted testing the current noise in the county.
“The noise level ranged from 36.4. DBA to 51.3 DBA, so in some areas the decibel level was already exceeded before we even did anything,” says Rob Johnson, with Dakota Power Community Wind.
Commissioners also discussed a second zoning change.
This one dealt with the setback distance, which is how far the turbines have to be from public roads and homes.
The current distance is 1,320 ft., or three times the height of the turbine.
The Planning Commission recommended increasing it to 5,200 ft., or one mile.
The county commissioners said this decision is the toughest they’ll have to make, since it could determine whether or not Canton and surrounding cities could grow in the future.
They decided to table it for now, so they can look into more research on the topic.
Dakota Power Community Wind says they can deal with the noise restrictions, though it will make their project much more difficult.
But they said if the county adds setback restrictions, then they will have to kill the project.
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