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Decision on wind turbines in Buchanan County should be made in several weeks

A decision will be coming in “weeks” regarding wind energy in Buchanan County.

County commissioners said they are looking at the legality of the proposal and gathering information before making a decision. They said they understand people are looking for a swift decision, but the unprecedented nature of the proposal is the reason the process could take a few weeks moving forward.

Commissioners said the decision should take several weeks, not several months.

The Planning and Zoning Commission presented a total commercial wind ban in a meeting on Feb. 19. The proposal passed through to the county commissioners with an 8-4 vote.

A total ban has been put through in other countries in the region. Sedgwick County, Kansas, the county that includes the city of Wichita, banned wind energy last August.

David Dennis, a county commissioner from Sedgwick County, said the process took around two weeks to make a decision on the ban after planning and zoning put it through to the commissioners.

Dennis said air space and the urban nature of the county were main causes for the ban.

Like Buchanan County, Sedgwick County had multiple public forums before the process got to the commissioners. Dennis said that the decision also supported the public interest, which was something that was talked about in great deal at the Buchanan County Planning and Zoning meeting last week.

A topic for discussion last week at the meeting was about the possibility of legal concerns with the commissioners approving the ordinance of a total ban.

That is something that Dennis said Sedgwick County did not have to worry about due to a case on a total ban in the Flint Hills area of Kansas that reached the Kansas Supreme Court. The Kansas Supreme Court sided in favor of the wind ban in 2004.

The proposal for the wind ban was proposed by Steven Reardon, who represents Marion Township in the northeast area of the county that was a potential target of wind turbines. Members of Friends of Buchanan County, a group of people against wind turbines in the county, have been vocal in the past public forums.

News-Press Now will continue to follow the decision as it develops.