BEATRICE – The Gage County Board has approved a six-month extension of a moratorium on new wind energy projects in the county.
That gives more time to the county’s planning and zoning commission to study possible revisions to regulations governing wind farms. The board voted 5-0, with two members absent Wednesday, to extend the moratorium through next April 15th. County Zoning Administrator Lisa Wiegand says that extra time will be needed to thoroughly consider various issues.
The moratorium was scheduled to expire October 15th. Recently, the county board voted to approve an increased setback distance between wind turbines and non-participating homes, from three-eighths of a mile, to one mile. But the board asked the planning commission to study other possible changes in regulations.
Wiegand said there are no current permit applications on file for either new commercial wind farms or single-unit wind generation systems.
A proposal by NextEra Energy Resources to potentially build a wind farm between Pickrell and Cortland touched off a months-long opposition campaign from rural residential owners, who sought the greater setback distance.
Wiegand said the commission would likely start by looking at setbacks from villages and subdivisions. She said studying the issue of whether wind farms are more appropriate in one area of the county than any other, would likely take more than six months to complete.
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