The Logan County Planning and Zoning Commission has approved a conditional use permit requested by Niyol Wind, LLC, to build a wind farm west and south of Fleming.
Niyol is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NextEra Energy, which owns and operates two wind farms in the Peetz area.
The board voted Tuesday evening to forward the permit to the Logan County Board of Commissioners with a recommendation for approval.
The permit request was tabled at the commission’s April meeting because of opposition from residents in the largely agricultural area. After hearing a barrage of complaints from residents in the area about the wind farm, the planning commission voted 4-2 last month to table conditional use permit application for up to 89 wind turbines.
The opposition has come from a group calling themselves Concerned Citizens for a Safe Logan County. During the April meeting the planning commission members voiced concerns about whether a wind farm is compatible with that area, given the population density. While the area is overwhelmingly rural in nature, commission members noted that many of the objectors don’t own vast tracts of unoccupied land, but smaller, exurban holdings of just a few acres.
Those considerations weren’t voiced Tuesday night, however, although there was some discussion about whether possible changes in regulations should be considered. The Concerned Citizens group also had submitted a list of regulations they’d like to see Logan County adopt concerning wind turbines. Those also had been tabled from the April meeting.
Commissioner Michael Bournia raised the question of whether some of the stipulations in those proposed regulations – specifically the setbacks – should be included in the P&Z board’s recommendation to the County Commissioners.
“I’d like to know if the rules are going to change and, if so, we need to include some of those recommendations?” Bournia asked.
Chairman Dave Whitney said the proposed regulations would have no bearing on the Niyol permit application.
“I feel like (regulations) are a long-term project,” Whitney said. “That’s not something that’s going to happen tonight.”
Discussion among the planning commissioners focused on whether the permit application meets current Logan County criteria and whether it posed any real danger to the area around it. Most of the board members cited the fact that wind turbines have operated in Logan County for decades with no problem, and that NextEra had met or exceeded the county’s regulations and guidelines for setbacks, maintenance and decommissioning.
As a separate agenda item, the planning commission also voted to not forward the proposed regulations to the County Commissioners but to take them up for closer study at a future meeting.
The Logan County Commissioners will consider the recommendation on the conditional use permit at its June 2 business meeting.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding