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Litigation holds up Washburn Wind Energy turbines  

Credit:  Time Jamison | The Courier | Mar 22, 2019 | wcfcourier.com ~~

WATERLOO – Developers are seeking more time to build a planned 35-turbine wind farm in Eagle Township south of Waterloo.

Washburn Wind Energy has asked the Black Hawk County Board of Adjustment to extend start and completion dates required under county zoning regulations.

An attorney for the company said litigation between the Board of Adjustment and a farmer near the project location is significantly hampering its ability to sell the project or the power it will generate.

Washburn Wind Energy is not a party to the litigation and can’t control its outcome, attorney Kathleen Law said in a March 6 letter to the Board of Adjustment seeking the time extension.

“(Potential buyers) are unwilling to enter into an agreement … until the legal proceedings are resolved,” Law said. “In addition, it is unreasonable and unwise for Washburn to commence construction of the project unless or until it has a purchase agreement in place and the legal proceedings have been completed.”

The proposed 70-megawatt wind energy facility has created deep divisions between landowners in the project area just east of Hudson and neighbors who believe the turbines could endanger their health, property values and quality of life.

The county Board of Adjustment voted 3-2 on April 24, 2018, following an endorsement from the Planning and Zoning Commission and a contentious public hearing, to approve a special permit for the project.

Landowner Harold Youngblut filed a lawsuit a month later claiming the board’s action violated the county zoning ordinance. The case is still pending, and a judge has yet to rule on issues raised during a January hearing.

Meanwhile, county zoning administrator Seth Hyberger said the ordinance governing wind energy turbines requires a project to start within 12 months of the special permit being issued. That ordinance also requires work to be completed within 36 months of the special permit issuance.

Washburn Wind Energy is asking to extend the required start date until July 1, 2020, and to push back the completion date to Dec. 31, 2022.

The county zoning ordinance states: “Upon request of an applicant, and for good cause, the Board of Adjustment may grant an extension of time.”

Members of the Board of Adjustment are expected to consider the request during their regular meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Waterloo City Hall council chambers. The measure does not require a public hearing.

Source:  Time Jamison | The Courier | Mar 22, 2019 | wcfcourier.com

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