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Paperwork filed for 119 proposed turbine sites

A proposed wind turbine project is moving forward after Apex Clean Energy filed with the Federal Aviation Administration 119 possible locations for turbines in Morgan County.

Apex Clean Energy spokeswoman Helen Humphreys said the 119 sites were submitted for approval. The FAA will review the sites for obstruction, a step that must take place prior to the county’s review of the project.

Humphreys said the sites are pending approval but will be the final sites for the project plan submitted to the county board.

“There will be 111 for sure, but we try to put spares out there for approval,” Humphreys said.

Apex Clean Energy proposed constructing from 80 to 120 wind turbines in rural Morgan County for the Lincoln Land Wind project.

Each site submitted to the FAA for approval is for a 599-foot turbine, just under the 600-foot maximum allowed by the county’s ordinance.

Following finalization of the Morgan County wind ordinance revisions, Apex has begun the permitting process for the project.

The FAA’s obstruction review is one step in the permitting process before the county can approve or reject the project. The process also includes a project site plan, decommissioning plan, agriculture impact and other studies.

Dusty Douglas, director of the Morgan County Regional Planning Commission, said the county has not issued any approval for the project at this time.

While the permits have been filed with the FAA, a formal application has not been finished with the county, Douglas said.

“We haven’t received a complete application yet,” Douglas said. “Once we we do, I’ll make a recommendation to the board, then it’ll go to a public hearing with the Zoning Board of Appeals.”

Once an application is received, the board plans to put it online for public review before moving forward, Morgan County Board Chairman Brad Zeller said.

Douglas said there could be some discussion on the project during the regular Board of Commissioners meeting at 9 a.m. Monday at Morgan County Courthouse.