County review of wind farm regulations continues
Credit: News Staff | The Newton Kansan | July 19, 2022 | www.thekansan.com ~~
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It appears there will be changes made to zoning regulations of wind energy turbines, and those changes could come as soon as August. The Harvey County Commission will review some recommendations which came out of a meeting of the county planning and zoning board last week which was dedicated to reviewing current conditional use permit requirements for wind turbines.
The County Commission will be presented with an overview of a comparison of Harvey County’s Commercial Renewable Energy Regulations to other Kansas counties. Additionally, staff will present changes the Planning Commission will consider making to the Commercial Renewable Energy Regulations. Also, a map is included showing the surrounding counties who have banned wind energy, or have moratoriums on wind energy.
The resolution, 2019-19, creates a moratorium for turbines being placed in a flood plain, and, a limit that “No Renewable Energy Equipment shall be located closer than 2,000 feet from an active residential building.”
As previously reported by the Newton Kansan, local cartographer, historical researcher and author Brian Stucky created a map showing where turbines could be constructed – and the space is limited.
“It is overwhelmingly cluttered and clogged,” Stucky said. “Where would you put towers? Up in Marion county, they have 20 to 30 wind turbines per township. There is no way you can put 10 to 30 wind towers [here]. Maybe two or three.”
During the July 12 meeting of the planning and zoning board, members reported requests from county residents to ban commercial wind farms in Harvey County. There are bans in surrounding counties – Sedgwick and McPherson counties have a total moratorium while portions of Reno, Butler and Marion counties have partial bans.
Those were considered, along with other regulations in surrounding counties.
The Harvey County Historical Society came before the planning commission to ask for changes. The society is seeking the preservation of historic sites, with the proposed language:
“The CUP shall avoid cultural, historical and archaeological sites. Thus, Applicant shall take measures to ensure the protection of Said sites. Prior to submitting the Conditional Use application for a CREP, the Applicant shall supply to the Zoning Administrator a letter from the Kansas Historical Society (KHS) attesting to the fact that no cultural, historical or archaeological site or resource shall be negatively affected by the construction and operation of said wind farm. Cultural, historical and archaeological resources and sites are those as designated by the State Historic Preservation Office and include both pending and approved nominations to the National Register of Historic Places, the Register of Historic Kansas Places and the Kansas Historic Resources Inventory.”
The planning and zoning commission will consider changes to the the ordinance in August, including:
1. Create a Sand Hills District Overlay from NW 12th north to Dutch Ave and East to West from Woodberry to Golden Prairie.
2. They would like to add a 2000\u2019 setback for Parks and Recreational areas, City Limits, Schools and Churches.
3. They also felt they needed to increase the property line setback from a minimum of 550′ to 1000′. Non-participating property owners would be able to sign a waiver if they were in agreement to locate them closer but no closer than 550′ or height of the tower plus 50′.
4. They would like to see requirements for an Acoustic Study, Shadow Flicker Study,Road Impact Study and Ice Throw Study. The Road Impact Study would be done by Road and Bridge’s retained engineer and the other studies by a third party paid by the applicant.
5. Add a limit on Shadow Flicker of 30 hours or less per year.
6. Receive a copy of signed lease agreements. Planning and zoning staff is currently crafting a new set of regulations for review of the Harvey County Planning and Zoning Board and the Harvey County Commission.
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