Proposed changes to Lincoln County’s wind ordinance will be delayed another month to allow representatives of Pattern Development to make the case to the county attorney for suggested modifications.
County commissioners Tuesday voted 4-1 with Commissioner Tom Stewart going against a motion by Commissioner Elaine Allen to postpone the hearing one more time. She added on a recommendation from County Attorney Alan Morel that the hearing be advertised again to give the public notice. Consideration of an amended ordinance previously was postponed in August.
Morel recommended the delay. He and other staff and attorneys spent an hour and a half Monday going through Pattern’s proposed changes to the county’s Wind Energy Conversion Systems ordinance. Some of the proposed changes were reasonable and if given some more time, can be incorporated into the draft for approval, he said.
“If we can give you a finished document rather than argue through the points,” the hearing next month will move much smoother, he said.
Loralee Hunt representing Pattern apologized for the delay, acknowledging that commissioners “indulged us last month for 30 days,” but explained the proposed changes had to be routed through multiple departments such as engineering, construction, legal and permitting. Then Hurricane Harvey hit, affecting the company’s headquarters in downtown Houston and the home of the chief counsel for real estate. Some employees were displaced from their houses, she said. The proposed changes didn’t reach Morel until the weekend before the meeting, she said.
Company officials would like one more delay to sort things out and speak with Morel before something is adopted, she said. Pattern has agreed not to file an application for at least 90 days. The target date for an application is in January, she said.
“Frankly, I don’t care where your staff is set up,” Stewart said. “This is a county ordinance. We keep putting it off and now we have to advertise (again).”
Morel told commissioners, “I think can narrow down the issues.”
“So, next month you will have an ordinance you can recommend for approval?” Allen asked. “They have suggestions for the ordinance, but that doesn’t mean we will take them. You will go through and consider (what Pattern is proposing).”
Stewart offered a motion to pass the ordinance as drafted that day by the attorney, but the motion died for lack of a second. Then Allen offered a motion to postpone until the October meeting and to advertise the public hearing. That motion was seconded by Commissioner Lynn Willard and approved 4-1.
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