Backers of a wind farm in Lincoln County say they’ve collected enough signatures to put the issue of setbacks from homes to a vote.
Dakota Power Community Wind turned in 2,100 signatures to Lincoln County Auditor Marlene Sweeter Thursday morning. The petition needed 1,732 to pass.
Sweeter hopes to verify the signatures by the end of the day, at which point a special election would be set.
“My staff and I are franticly going through them as we speak,” Sweeter said.
The election would need to occur within 60 days of the petitions’ submission. Sweeter expects to set a date for a Tuesday, most likely in July. Polling places would be open countywide, including in the parts of Sioux Falls south of 57th Street.
“I will run it like any other election,” Sweeter said.
The vote would be to repeal or keep the county commission’s vote last month to keep wind turbines a half mile or more from homes in Lincoln County, where DPCW has proposed a large-scale wind energy project.
If voters side with a repeal, setbacks would return to the previous distance, which is three times the height of a turbine – around 1,250 feet.
Wind backers say the half-mile setbacks, which could only be waived with the approval of neighboring property owners, would effectively shut down wind development in the fast-growing county.
Opponents argued that turbines should be even farther from homes – at least a mile – to protect property values and public health.
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