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Stanton County bars wind development

Wind turbines will not be dotting the Stanton County landscape anytime soon.

The Stanton County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously today to approve a land use matrix that did not allow for wind developers to purchase conditional use permits – effectively preventing any wind farms from attempting to build in Stanton County.

The Board made the decision at the conclusion of a two-hour public hearing in which about 30 people testified. A vast majority were against any wind development. [See the flyer calling people to the hearing —NWW.]

“You’re going to destroy our environment with tall, massive wind turbines so (people in Omaha) can feel comfortable,” Stanton resident Tony Wortman said. “Do they put wind turbines in Omaha? Do you put wind turbines in Stanton? No, but you’ll go out in the country and you’ll irritate a neighbor… so bad that they’re talking about moving. ”

The primary concerns from the public regarded the noise, flicker effect and beauty problems associated with the turbines. There were a couple of farmers who said the benefit of extra personal and county income outweighed concerns over noise.

“I’ve been to Creston, I’ve been out west to those wind farms,” property owner Dan Timperley said. “I’ve got to tell you that they seemed a lot quieter than what I’m currently listening to at home.”

The Board also passed regulations extending the setback requirements for a windmill to 2,700 feet and capping the potential noise generated at 50 decibels. These requirements would only matter if the Board retracted the ban on wind permits in the future.

Representatives from Tradewind Energy said those restrictions were so severe it would be difficult for any wind company to build in the county.

Chairman of the Board Dennis Kment says there’s too many unknowns about wind farms to open the county to them.

“I think the County is not ready for wind farms right now,” Kment said. “They’re around us but we haven’t really had the chance to look at the ramifications of them yet.”

Stanton County’s decision comes one week after the start of construction on a 320 megawatt wind farm in Dixon County and as the Pierce County Commissioners are nearing a decision on their wind regulations.