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Wind farm moratorium approved by zoning board

A four-month moratorium for wind farm applications was approved by the Saline County Planning and Zoning Board.

The moratorium, defined as “the temporary prohibition of activity,” was requested by Wilber resident Jeff Koll during its Aug. 18 meeting. Koll said the board needs to update specific wind project regulations before any projects may move forward within the county.

He said during the meeting the purpose of the moratorium was “to ensure the safety of further development” of future projects and push action from the board on regulations.

Koll left the timeline of the moratorium up to the board, and after a lengthy discussion, members agreed for it to carry through Dec. 31 of this year. The vote carried six to one, with board president Doug Horak abstaining.

Regulations such as noise restrictions, setback distances and lighting restrictions, among others, have been subjects of conversation for the board since July 2019, although no official action has yet to be taken.

Currently, there are two wind farm projects in development in Saline County, including the 300 megawatt Milligan One project owned by EDF Renewables and the 300 megawatt Cornhusker Harvest wind project owned by Apex Clean Energy.

According to Planning and Zoning administrator Lyle Weber, at this point and time, a company can request a permit, but it will not be accepted by the planning and zoning board.

Whether or not regulations change by Dec. 31, the moratorium would lift at that time.

The action will now move to the Board of Commissioners for a final vote. At the time of publication, nothing of the subject had been added to the Sept. 1 meeting agenda.