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Page County sets wind turbine meetings

(Clarinda) – Page County officials are seeking feedback on wind turbine issues.

Public meetings take place Monday, December 16th at the Page County Courthouse’s Page Room, and Wednesday, December 18th at the Bricker Room of Shenandoah’s Public Safety Center. Both meetings begin at 5 p.m. Page County Supervisors Chair Alan Armstrong tells KMA News both meetings are designed to gleam public comments on the placement of wind turbines in the county.

“What we’re hoping to have is people who still have questions, or concerns, or thoughts–both negative and pro,” said Armstrong, “because it’s obvious for everybody that probably doesn’t like the idea of a wind tower in their area, there’s people who are looking forward the possibility of having that, because of the revenue it adds to their farms.”

Armstrong says the supervisors hope to hear from individuals on “both sides of the street” on the issue.

“Someone who is down along the Missouri line, and has some positives they want to share–or some negatives–that’s a perfect opportunity for us to be enlightened even more,” he said. “We’ve had several discussions in the past, and we feel this is something we need to have, and make sure that people are able to think out loud in a positive way.

“These aren’t going to be extra-long meetings. We’re going to limit time for speech. Be prepared with what you want to say. Bring some information, if you have it. We look forward to both of those,” Armstrong added.

Back in October, the supervisors approved an ordinance setting regulations for Wind Energy Conversion Systems–or WECS–including application requirements, meteorological tower standards, setbacks, avoidance and mitigation of damages to public infrastructure and decommissioning, and general requirements for noncommercial turbines, among others. Armstrong questions whether any changes will be made to the ordinance following the meetings.

“The ordinances–we can review them, but we’re not going to be able to make any rapid decisions,” said Armstrong, “because we put in a lot of effort, and a lot of gathering of information into those. Probably our biggest concern was the decommissioning of these down the road. So, we want to make sure the county is protected. That was probably our biggest concern of putting the ordinances in.”

And, he says the supervisors have no control over where the turbines are placed.

“Where those towers go are going to be up to the people that want them,” said Armstrong. “There’s just not too many areas of changes there that can be made. The biggest problem is, we still don’t know what sizes, what heights–any of those things. The government keeps changing the rules as far as what they can fund, and what they produce. Companies keep changing the wattages. We’re still gathering information.”

Armstrong hopes for good turnouts at both meetings.