For the second time, Lincoln County commissioners decided not to take action on revisions to its ordinance setting forth standards and requirements for the development of wind farms and the associated installation of wind turbines and transmission lines.
At their meeting last week, they continued a public hearing on the ordinance to 1 p.m. Sept. 19, to give representatives from Pattern Development time to submit additional changes they would like incorporated.
“This review (of the ordinance) is not to hurt anyone,” Commission Chairman Preston Stone said. “This commission felt it needed a revision and more teeth for taxpayers and everyone in this county.”
County Attorney Alan Morel said that at the board’s July meeting, commissioners discussed a number of changes suggested by Commissioner Elaine Allen and from an outside legal counsel hired to work with and advise County Manager Nita Taylor on needed amendments. A significant number of changes were proposed, he said.
“We provided this to Pattern Energy last Friday when all revisions were completed, to both wind companies,” Morel said. ”Clean Line (the other wind development company) already filed an application.”
To avoid a three-hour hearing that day, Morel proposed that with Pattern’s pledge not to apply for a permit for 90-days, commissioners could delay action to give a chance for more staff discussion on changes coming from Pattern. The delay will give a few weeks to go through potential revisions with Pattern input.
“You can have the hearing next month, and if you adopt an ordinance, it doesn’t take effect for 30-days,” the attorney said.
“I believe that is in the best interests of everyone involved,” Stone said. “We should take time and look at these other concerns by Pattern.”
Allen and Commissioner Tom Stewart agreed.
“I like the ordinance as currently written, but I don’t know the (proposed Pattern) changes and that’s what a public hearing is for. This will give staff time to make any more changes,” Stewart said.
Allen said she wants to limit the possibility of misinterpretations or contradictions in the future when other commissioners are sitting in their seats.
“This is for the long term and we have to be cautious of the changes and who they impact,” Commissioner Dallas Draper said.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding