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Boone County commission discusses wind farm regulations

Members of the Boone County Planning & Zoning Commission discussed a draft of proposed wind farm regulations during their meeting Tuesday.

The draft details information that must accompany all applications for a wind turbine, including the impact on surrounding property values, space between turbines and possible adverse environmental effects.

The proposed regulations are a response to E.ON Climate & Renewables’ proposal for a wind farm in northern Boone County, according to previous Missourian reporting.

E.ON Climate & Renewables placed a meteorological tower in Harrisburg six months ago to determine the viability of a possible wind farm project. The company will need to collect one to two years of data, according to previous Missourian reporting.

If the wind conditions prove to be viable, the company would have to submit a turbine application to the county.

The application requires an environmental assessment to determine any negative environmental effects. The commission members agreed that this assessment should not come from the company making the application.

Boone County Director of Resource Management Stan Shawver said he would obtain a the list of vetted individuals that have been used in past environmental studies by the county.

Members also discussed possible ways to help cover the cost associated with noise complaints.

According to the draft, upon complaint, the project owner is required to hire “an independent acoustical consultant” to perform a sound study that demonstrates noise standard compliance. This would be paid for by the county through taxes.

Commission member Freddy Furlong proposed issuing a penalty fee to turbine sites that receive six or more complaints. Shawver proposed shutting noisy sites down until the issue is resolved.

Although the draft was an early step in developing regulations for the proposed wind farm project, Shawver said the meeting was productive.

“The planning commission is very focused on the task,” Shawver said. “They’re bringing their life experiences to play and experience on the Planning & Zoning Commission and experience in the community.”

The commission will continue discussion of the proposed regulations at its next meeting, which is scheduled for July 23.