A letter from a Dickinson County resident questioning the county’s policy regarding the wind farm located south of Abilene in Marion County left commissioners wondering if there are new developments.
During the Aug. 6 Dickinson County Commission meeting, Commissioner Craig Chamberlin said the commission had received an email asking questions about the Diamond Vista wind farm, owned by Enel Green Power North America.
The wind farm is in Marion County, just south of the Dickinson-Marion County line. Although wind farm representatives earlier indicated they planned to expand into Dickinson County, County Administrator Brad Homman said no applications have been received – or permits issued – to allow expansion.
The resident’s email posed five questions: Does Dickinson County favor or oppose the project? Are commissioners agreeable to the area where the project is scheduled to go? What restrictions are in place to encourage or discourage completion of the project? Will property taxes be impacted when the project is completed? And has a public hearing occurred or when will it occur?
“We updated our zoning regulations in anticipation of something that would happen, but they would have to apply for a conditional use permit and would go through the public hearings,” Homman said. “The whole process would be followed and they (affected landowners) would be notified at that point.
“I haven’t heard anything,” he added.
Chamberlin asked if a second MET (Meteorological) tower had ever been installed. County Administrator Brad Homman said he did not believe an application had ever been submitted and he would check with Planning and Zoning Director Tim Hamilton to see if there were any new developments.
“It almost sounds like he (resident sending the email) knows more about what’s going on than we do,” Homman observed.
Commission Chairman Lynn Peterson asked Homman to gather information and report back.
“Maybe you can find out if they’re reaching out to people,” Peterson suggested. “Generally speaking, there is a procedure to go through. We’d be very interested in knowing what the location is specifically when they do proceed and if they do apply for a conditional use permit.”
Homman said he would reply to the email on behalf of the commission.
County Counselor Doug Thompson suggested that the resident and other interested people keep an eye on the newspaper since any developments (public notices, etc.) would be in it.
While no applications or permits have been issued for wind farm development in Dickinson County, Diamond Vista representatives took steps several years ago indicating an interest in expanding.
In 2016 representatives from Tradewind Energy of Lenexa, the wind farm developer, held a meeting with Dickinson County landowners interested in learning more about the project. If wind turbines were installed it would be on private property.
Then in January 2017, Tradewind obtained a conditional use permit to install a MET (Meteorological) tower southeast of Navarre to measure wind velocity, data and other information. Data from that tower and others found a wind current that runs from Texas through Oklahoma into Kansas is a prime location for renewable wind energy.
In March 2018, Diamond Vista representatives leased the former landfill in Hope as the location for a temporary office for Atchison Recycling, which was using the former landfill while construction was underway in Marion County.
In January 2019, the commission approved a resolution updating its wind energy regulations to be prepared if an entity should decide to expand into Dickinson County.
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