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Logan County planning panel to consider wind turbine regulations

The Logan County Planning and Zoning Commission will consider stringent new regulations on wind turbines when it meets via Zoom on Tuesday evening.

The regulations are being proposed by attorney Frank Walter of Keller Law, LLC, of Steamboat Springs. In a March 16 letter addressed to Logan County Planner Rob Quint, Walter says he represents a group called Citizens for a Safe Logan County.

In the letter Walter says the proposed regulations are based on land use policies adopted by Kit Carson County. Walter says four wind farms are operating or are planned to come on line this year in Kit Carson County.

One of those projects, the Carousel Wind Energy Center, is being built by NextEra Energy Resources, the same company that wants to build the Niyol Wind Project west and south of Fleming. That’s the project that has prompted the proposed new regulations for Logan County.

The other projects in Kit Carson County are Tri-State Generation’s Crossing Trails Wind Farm, Tradewind Energy’s Cheyenne Ridge Wind Farm, and the Kit Carson Windpower Project being built by Duke Energy.

Logan County’s commissioners already have gone on record as being reluctant to enact any new zoning regulations concerning wind turbines. During their Jan. 27 meeting this year the commissioners rejected the CCSLC’s proposed zoning regulations, saying they preferred to regulate individual projects through individual special use permits.

The commissioners also told the group that any new zoning regs would have to come from the P&Z board.

Sara Cassidy, a spokeswoman for NextEra, said company officials had reviewed the proposed regulations. In a written statement sent to the Journal-Advocate, NextEra expressed several problems with the regulations.

“The proposed zoning regulations are not based on scientific research and, if adopted, would infringe on landowners’ property rights to develop their land as they see fit,” the statement said. “Importantly, these proposed regulations would also certainly discourage future renewable energy development in Logan County, depriving the area of the considerable economic benefits wind projects bring to the county, including job creation, additional property taxes and payments to landowners.”

Coincidentally, the new regulations will come before the planning commission at the same time as seven applications for special use permits for wind turbines that are part of the Niyol project.

Tuesday evening’s meeting will be conducted by remote technology. Anyone wanting to attend the meeting can do so by logging on at https://zoom.us/j/849033000, meeting ID 849 033 000. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.