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Boone County Planning & Zoning Commission holds final wind farm public hearing

ASHLAND – The Boone County Planning and Zoning Commission held its final public hearing to discuss restrictions of wind farms in Boone County on Thursday.

According to previous KOMU 8 reporting, Boone County Commissioner Janet Thompson said wind turbines have been successful in Missouri for areas with smaller populations, such as counties outside of Boone.

“What we’re looking at is making sure that the people that own the big tracts of land aren’t the only voices in the conversation,” Thompson said. “It’s a balancing act of interests.”

RWE, a wind energy plant company, is planning to establish wind farms in northwestern Boone County and Howard County. Howard County has no zoning restrictions, but the Planning and Zoning Commission in Boone County proposed rules for requiring overlay districts for any area where a wind farm could develop.

No decisions were made in Thursday’s public hearing. People both for and against wind farms were able to register to voice their concerns.

Impact on property value has also been a topic of conversation. One local real estate agent said these restrictions could help some people.

“It’s a way to hopefully make everyone happy,” Ryan Lidholm said. “It could provide an opportunity to build wind turbines to get clean, renewable energy, but also not make it so easy to do that it will just potentially hurt so many people’s property values.”

On the other hand, Lidholm said he’s seen home sales fall apart after learning of potential nearby wind farms.

“People might steer away from areas that have 500-foot tall towers with shadow flickers and lots of noise,” he said. “It’s not what people think of when they go to buy a home.”

The Planning and Zoning Commission will take comments from the past three public hearings and decide to approve, change, or vote down zoning restrictions in Boone County on a later date.

If these restrictions are approved, anyone interested in establishing a wind farm would need to:

  • Apply for an overlay district
  • Apply for a conditional use permit within the overlay district
  • Meet all criteria for approval, fees, and timelines