By BRENT MARTIN
St. Joseph Post
A regulation being considered by Buchanan County could, in effect, keep any wind farm from locating in the county.
Buchanan County’s Planning and Zoning Commission heard from opponents of wind farms during two nights of public hearings last week. A work session is planned for next month before the commission forwards its recommendation to the County Commission.
Presiding Commissioner Lee Sawyer says the county is listening to the concerns of citizens.
“I think everybody took it very seriously. I think it was very clear, the people that spoke, what their angle was and they are not interested in having wind energy in Buchanan County,” Sawyer tells host Barry Birr on the KFEQ Hotline.
Sawyer says the third draft of wind energy regulations being considered for approval would require wind turbines to be set back at least half a mile from a property line. That is a standard often used in rural, more sparsely populated counties. Sawyer says that in Buchanan County it would be hard for any wind energy company to meet that requirement.
“It makes it pretty difficult to do,” Sawyer says. “We’ll see what the Planning and Zoning (Commission) comes up with, but, frankly, a half mile setback from the property line makes it very difficult to accomplish.”
Sawyer says the County Commission relies on the expertise of the Planning and Zoning Commission members and rarely goes against their recommendations. But, he adds, the commission will carefully weigh its recommendation and public input before adopting wind energy regulations.
Birr asks Sawyer it he would favor an out-and-out ban on wind farms in the county.
“We would have to talk about it,” Sawyer replies. “I wouldn’t sit here and tell you today that we wouldn’t. I do think, as I said earlier, that the kind of property line setbacks that we’ve introduced and the property line setbacks that they might be willing to come back to us would accomplish really the same thing.”
The public has until the end of the month to provide input on the proposed regulations.