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The Holt Board of Supervisors met Aug. 14 for its regular meeting at the Holt County Courthouse. The agenda included proposed changes to the county’s wind energy conversion system (WECS) setback regulations submitted by the Holt County Planning and Zoning Board.
The supervisors agreed to keep the current setback regulations for commercial and utility WECS distances for road right-of-ways and property lines.
The current setbacks include one-half the diameter of the rotor blade for both. The P&Z Board proposed changing it to 1,600 ft.
All seven board members voted in favor of tabling the amendment addressing setback regulations for neighboring dwellings.
In its proposal, the P&Z board members suggested changing the current 1/2 mile setback to 1 mile. In Antelope County WECS setbacks for neighboring dwellings is 1,000 ft. for participating landowners or 2,400 ft. for non-participating landowners. In Boone County the setbacks are 1,000 ft.
“It was the board’s decision to make these changes based on the last two years of operation of the present project,” said Keith May, P&Z commissioner who lives on a farm north of the Grande Prairie Wind Project.
Sixteen people were on hand at the meeting. The supervisors argued whether public comment should or should not be allowed.
Supervisors Ralph Metschke, Don Butterfield and Bob Snyder asserted public comment should be allowed. Darrin Paxton, Steve Boshart, Don Hahlbeck and Bill Tielke conveyed comments should not be allowed.
“At the last meeting we said we would not take any more public comments,” Tielke said. “We can’t have an unfair advantage for either side.”
In the end, no public comments were allowed.
“At the public hearing everybody had their 5 minutes,” Boshart said.
The board hosted a public hearing on July 31 for public comments.
More than 55 people attended the hearing in the Holt County District Courtroom.
Twenty-four of the attendees spoke. Around half of the speakers spoke in favor and the other half spoke against the proposed changes.
“We need to make a vote so these developers know if it’s feasible to build them in Holt County,” Snyder said. “I want taller towers, you will have less of them.”
The P&Z Board also submitted an amendment to the decommissioning plan requesting it should be reviewed every four years. The board did not approve this change. Currently there is no time limit set.
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