There could be some big changes on the horizon in Lincoln County.
While there are already a few wind farms in South Dakota – one proposed for Lincoln County is being met with some resistance and now voters will have the final say.
This coming Tuesday, Lincoln County voters will decide just how far wind turbines need to be from homes.
Right now, under current ordinance, a wind turbine needs to be about 1,300 feet, or about four city blocks, away from any home.
A “no” vote would keep the setbacks within those boundaries. As you can see on this map provided by supporters of wind energy, the green indicates land that would qualify for a wind turbine.
A “yes” vote would about double that distance to more than 2,600 feet. As you can see, very little land would qualify.
“The setback thing is strictly for a way to get ride of wind turbines in the county,” Brian Minish with Farmers and Friends for Wind said.
Minish says there are many benefits to a wind farm; added tax revenue to the county and ten thousand dollar lease payments to the landowners.
Yet Winnie Peterson, who is the chair of a non-profit group, says it’s not about money, it’s about safety.
“There are a number of reasons, vibration, sound, shadow flicker, a number of well documented studies that say the best way to mitigate any possibility of injury or illness to those who live in close proximity is to create a distance that’s appropriate,” Peterson said.
That’s what Lincoln County voters will have to decide come next Tuesday.
“If you want that clean energy and believe in what clean energy can do from an environmental perspective, plus give opportunities to producers in the county to take advantage of the opportunity on their own land, we want you to vote no on Tuesday,” Minish said.
“This isn’t a ban by any means, a yes vote just says create a safe setback and there’s also a provision in the law that says if people want to live closer to a wind turbine, they can, they can signa waiver that allows them to place that wind turbine as close as they want to their home,” Peterson said.
To hear more about the wind turbine debate, be sure to tune into Sunday night’s Inside KELOLAND at 10:30 p.m. where we delve deeper into the discussions with both sides.
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