Ford County Board expected to resume wind-farm debate soon

PAXTON — After taking a brief break over the holidays, the Ford County Board plans to begin meeting again soon to continue to hash out proposed new regulations for wind farms.

Chairman Bob Lindgren of rural Loda said Monday that he was not sure exactly when the board’s meetings would resume on the controversial topic, as he will not be available to attend one until next week at the earliest. However, Lindgren said resolving the wind-farm debate continues to be a priority, so he expects the board to start meeting again to discuss the issues at some point soon.

Since Dec. 1, when four newcomers joined the 12-member board, the board has already met in special session once to discuss the proposed changes to the county’s ordinance regulating wind farms. A second special meeting was scheduled for Dec. 20 but ended up being canceled due to some confusion that arose about whether the meeting was to be attended by all board members or just those who serve on the board’s zoning committee, Lindgren said.

Board members began reviewing the 10-year-old wind-farm ordinance in fall 2017 — following complaints from residents in the Kempton area who live near the Kelly Creek Wind Farm — and implemented a moratorium on the issuance of any more special-use permits for wind farms until the board completes its review. Among proposed changes expected to be made are an increase in the setbacks between wind turbines and homes and strengthened decommissioning requirements.

Despite numerous committee meetings, special board meetings and public hearings being held on the issue, the board has been unable to reach a consensus on what changes to make — especially when it comes to what setbacks to require.

“It just seems like we don’t accomplish a whole lot each time,” Lindgren said. “It’s the setbacks — that’s the sticking point, and that’s where we’re going to have to come to some agreement on.

“I think everything else can be worked out. Decommissioning (requirements are) getting pretty close to being worked out.”

Whether the board can come to an agreement remains to be seen.

“A couple of members have got some suggestions that seem like, ‘Yeah, they’re finally going to fall together,’ but I don’t know,” Lindgren said. “It kind of remains to be seen.”

Location (3):Local, Paxton, Ford County

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