Gage County officials are considering a change to wind energy regulations, with a meeting to discuss the proposed changes scheduled for next month.
Larry Allder, representing Prairie Wind Watchers, attended Wednesday’s meeting of the County Board of Supervisors and detailed what the group is hoping to see change.
“We’re not trying to rewrite the regulations, we only want to update the regulations by making a couple changes,” he said. “Gage County regulations now have a 3/8–mile setback from a wind turbine and a sound limit of 40 decibels at night. It’s been five years since the regulations were first set… and 3/8 of a mile is too close. We’re asking for a one-mile setback, and even that is too close.”
Allder also proposed that wind companies should need a written agreement with nearby property owners before operating a turbine nearby. One factor in seeking the change has been that over the years turbines have grown and can now have a wider impact than those that were around just five years ago.
“The turbines have gotten a lot taller,” he said. “We’re talking about 500-600 foot turbines, and at a 3/8 mile from your home, the results would be devastating. Not only would you not be able to sell your home, but your property value would drop and living there would be hell.”
The group is also seeking changes to how decibel levels are calculated.
Wording in the current regulations allows wind energy companies to conduct their own testing, which he thinks gives them an unfair advantage.
Gage County Planning and Zoning administrator Lisa Wiegand said the zoning commission will discuss the proposed changes at its December meeting.
Lisa met with roger about amendment process and how notify individuals.
“We’re placing discussion for zoning on Dec. 10 to bring all of our commission members up to date,” she said. “From that point we will schedule a hearing for the possible amendment.”
The meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 10 will be at 6:30 p.m. on the second floor of the Gage County courthouse.
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