The Cherry County Commissioners took no action on a proposed wind turbine project at a public hearing Tuesday.
The public hearing was held at the Valentine High School Auditorium.
About 80 landowners, their attorneys, and stakeholders were present. Forty people testified before the commissioners.
Those who are against the project believe wind farms are detrimental to the environment and public health. They also believe the conditional use permit proposal is a violation of their property rights and question the regulations and rules set forth on the permit.
Those who support the project say it will boost the economy, especially the Cody-Kilgore School District.
It’s estimated the project could generate between two to three hundred thousand dollars of revenue annually for the county.
“Specifically Commissioner (Martin) DeNaeyer and Commissioner (Tanya) Storer where they have direct family representatives that stand to gain financially if the conditional use permit is granted,” said Preserve the Sandhills Attorney Robert Sherrets. “We can’t expect them to vote against their own family and their own personal financial gain, we cannot allow them to vote at all. I would call on the commissioners to recuse themselves or postpone this to a later date.”
“Zoning is a balance, neighbors have property rights, that’s why there is zoning,” said BSH Kilgore LLC Attorney David Levy. “Applicants have property rights as well. Participating landowners have property rights. The balance is set forth in your zoning regulations and with that, this application finds the balance and I would encourage you to approve this application.”
Michael Knapp, who is the applicant for BSH Kilgore LLC also spoke at Tuesday’s public hearing.
“This project, from start to finish, is a Sandhill project, it is a Cherry County project,” he said. “This project is by Sandhillers for Sandhillers and I encourage you to recall that as you make your final deliberation.”
The commissioners made a motion to table any action on the wind turbine proposal and will take it under advisement. The board will meet September 25th to set a date to take action on the project.
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