Marion County commissioners moved Monday’s meeting upstairs to the courtroom when about 30 people arrived to attend a particular portion of the meeting regarding wind turbines.
After nearly 40 minutes of questions and comments, Commission Chairman Randy Dalle and Commissioner Kent Becker voted to approve a conditional-use permit recommended by the Planning and Zoning department.
Commissioner Dianne Novak recused herself from the discussion and vote, citing it was appropriate to do so.
“The CUP requires a development plan,” said Emma Tajchman, director of Marion County Planning and Zoning during their Oct. 26 meeting.
“Tradewind Energy provided a conceptual plan with proposed sites for turbines, support buildings, transmission lines and ancillary structures.”
Tajchman said the plans can be modified slightly at the time of construction.
“Multiple things are considered when looking at a CUP application,” she said, adding that the area where the turbines are being proposed is primarily agricultural ground and a lower population density.
Tajchman said the vote was 8-0 in favor of recommending a CUP for the wind turbine project.
Prior to making a decision, Dallke, asked those in attendance if they were satisfied with their agreements through the Diamond Vista Wind Project or if the county needs to get more involved.
“I believe there are two different thoughts about the decommissioning in the 15th year,” he said.
Nick Coil, developer for the Diamond Vista Wind project and Tradewind Energy, said their lease requires them as developer and owner of the project to submit or furnish financial security in the amount required to decommission the project, less the salvage value.
“The value of technology in the ground far exceeds the amount required to decommission the project,” Coil said.
Becker said it is the commission’s job to protect landowners in Marion County.
“I do this with concern that if we don’t start escrowing some decommissioning money from the start, we aren’t doing our job in protecting the community,” he said.
Becker said the county is all new to this.
Dallke added that there haven’t been any wind farms in the county yet, and this will be a workload.
Jeanne Rziha of Tampa, and one of the landowners, said she assessed all the information and if it will be a good deal. Her answer, she said, was “yes.”
Dallke told Rziha that’s why the issue is being discussed.
“People don’t want something that looks ugly,” he said.
Rziha said: “I would like the blades painted yellow, and have all the wind turbines look like sunflowers.”
David Mueller, another landowner in the Tampa area, echoed what Rziha said. “We discussed this with the developer, and we are comfortable with the way it is set up and comfortable in our minds.”
Anthony Roy, director of Hillsboro Economic Development, said he sent the commissioners a letter in support of the project.
In other business, the commission:
• heard presentations by Alex Case and Kakim Kunantaev with the Insurance Center and a representative from the Kansas County Association Multiline Pool or KCAMP on bids for county property coverage.
After presenting information, the KCAMP representative discovered he didn’t have sufficient information to quote coverage of a breach at the Marion County Lake dam.
The commissioners will revisit the bids on Dec. 4 so that KCAMP has adequate time to come up with quote on that specific policy.