FAIRBURY – A Jefferson County Planning and Zoning meeting was held Thursday night at the Jefferson County Courthouse to continue talks of NextEra’s plan to build a second wind farm in Jefferson County. The special use permit is proposing to build up to 90 wind turbines, capable of generating 300 megawatts of energy, in the Jansen and Plymouth areas.
The courtroom was packed with over 100 people, debating whether the aesthetic view shed, financial, and environmental risks that come along with them, are worth the clean energy rewards.
Safety is a major concern for some residents of the county, who fear that turbine mechanical failures and malfunctions could pose a risk for citizens. The Planning and Zoning board was reviewing the distance and height of a system from any occupied residence.
Chris Olson was there representing NextEra and said that their proposal of 3 times the tip height away from residences would be more than plenty to ensure safety.
“These regulations all work together in order to create these series of setbacks you need to ensure the protection of public health and safety.”
Debates were also heard on the setbacks from schools, churches, communities and recreation areas.
Betty Boyko, Superintendent of Homestead National Historical Park talked about preserving the scenery for not only it animals but also the 70,000 people from across the nation and the world that come to Homestead to recreate and to learn.
“One of Americas most special places lies in your back yard at Homestead National Historical Park. We are asking for your help in protecting this special place by considering the protection of our view shed in your wind energy regulations.”
Other topics of concern included getting planes over cropland for spraying chemicals and planting cover crop, shadow flicker from the turbines, and decommissioning of the wind farm at the end of it’s serviceable life.
The County Planning and Zoning Committee will meet again next Thursday, August 25th at 7:30 at the Jefferson County Courtroom and encourages public input from it’s residents.
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