Multiple heated meetings over the past several weeks culminated Tuesday night with the Reno County Planning Commission recommending not to grant a conditional use permit to Next Era Energy to build a wind farm in the southeast part of the county near Cheney Lake.
The recommendation is intended to help the Reno County Commission with its final decision on whether or not to give the proposed wind farm the green light. However, the county has the final say and commissioners don’t have to follow the planning commission’s recommendation.
Tuesday night’s decision by the planning commission was a win for some against the wind farm, but the deal isn’t dead.
Reno County Commissioner Ron Hirst says the commission now has three options it can take regarding the proposed wind farm.
The county commission can either override the planning commission’s recommendation to deny the conditional use permit to Next Era Energy, allowing the project to move forward, approve the planning commission’s recommendation and deny the project, or make recommendations for changes and return consideration back to the planning commission to reevaluate the proposal and make another recommendation.
“I’m open. I want to review all the material we got,” Hirst says.
He says county commissioners now have a lot of reading and research to do, going through everything presented to the planning commission. But he says, they will have to wait 14 days to see if a protest petition is filed against the conditional use permit.
Hirst says this is something the commission will take seriously as it impacts a lot of people.
“This is a huge decision for Reno County,” he says.
Eyewitness News reached out to Next Era Energy on Wednesday to see what its plans are moving forward. The company issued a statement reacting to Tuesday night’s narrowly-approved recommendation from the planning commission.
“We’re disappointed with the planning commission’s decision not to recommend the conditional use permit to the Reno County Commission,” Next Era says. “We recognize that the county commissioners have the ultimate decision and we look forward to their review. Our project has the potential to deliver tremendous benefits to the entire community.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding