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County Commission agrees to greater setbacks in proposed wind regulations  

Credit:  John Green, The Hutchinson News, Published Feb. 9, 2021, hutchnews.com ~~

Noise and shadow limits still under debate.

Reno County Commissioners tentatively agreed Tuesday to amend draft regulations on commercial wind developments to require a minimum 3,000-foot setback for wind turbines from residential structures.

During a 2½ hour meeting, the board also reached a consensus to set a mandatory 3-mile setback around state and federal wildlife properties, deleting language allowing it to be waived.

But it left up in the air changes pushed by Commission Chair Ron Hirst and some county residents for lower maximum sound and shadow flicker limits.

The board agreed to schedule a one-hour hearing to take additional public comment on the regulations, giving 30 minutes to each side, but leaving it up to the County Administrator to figure out who could speak.

That hearing will likely occur at the end of the commission’s next regular meeting on Feb. 23.

At the start of Tuesday’s county commission meeting, county resident Jane Tolin presented a petition to the board she said contained more than 500 signatures, “99 percent of whom were Reno County landowners or citizens.”

The petition asked for a half dozen changes to the proposed regulations that the Reno County Planning Commission forwarded to the county commission last month, including a setback for turbines of “at least 3,000 feet or six times a turbine’s height from a property line.”

“I know there’s a lot of lobbying going on, on both sides,” Commissioner Daniel Friesen said during the commission’s afternoon discussion. “The people that live in southeast Reno County are making convincing arguments to me on what they think should happen.”

He contended a 3,000 feet setback from property lines was virtually the same as “putting a moratorium on wind in Reno County.”

Source:  John Green, The Hutchinson News, Published Feb. 9, 2021, hutchnews.com

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