BEATRICE – Gage County officials have extended a moratorium on applications for commercial solar wind energy permits indefinitely, as the county’s planning commission works toward finalizing regulations.
The action taken by the county board on a 6-1 vote, Wednesday, does not apply to smaller residential solar improvements, under 25 kilowatts.
County Zoning Administrator Lisa Wiegand says the commission will be meeting next Tuesday night, with one of the items on the agenda being discussion of commercial solar energy regulations.
“Hopefully, we can have a final review. We did get some suggestions from Norris Public Power. Hopefully, by early fall, we’re ready to move to you with recommendations from a hearing.”
Public hearings on proposed commercial solar regulations would have to be held both before the commission and the county board of supervisors. One of the issues that could be the most controversial is setback requirements. “The commission is taking it’s time….they are following some of the same concerns. It still boils down to setbacks, hearing public opinion on setbacks….anything from a hundred feet to three-quarters-of-a-mile….that is a big range. It depends on the size of the operation.”
Supervisor Don Schuller voted no on the resolution, favoring an expiration date on the moratorium extension.
The county previously lifted a moratorium on wind farm projects, until more stringent regulations were put in place. Wednesday was the first meeting for new member Dave Swavely, just appointed to the Fourth District supervisors’ position. His appointment fills a vacancy left by the death of Supervisor Dennis Byars.
Swavely previously served several years as a Gage County Board member.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding