People packed the Lincoln County Commission room Tuesday night. They had hoped to speak out for and against a proposed wind farm in Lincoln County. However, a quick decision by the commissioners keeps the room silent, for now.
"This isn't anything we pass off lightly. This is serious, serious business. I just wanted to make that comment," Lincoln County Commissioner Jim Schmidt said.
The commissioners voted to support a decision to reject conditional use permit applications by Dakota Power Community Wind for five towers meant to collect wind data. However, the company can now re-apply for a temporary use permit because of the short time span the towers would be used.
"Well, this was an opinion of their planning and zoning folks that the process was different than they originally told us, so we're more than happy to oblige to make sure the process is done properly," Dakota Power Community Wind board member Brian Minish said.
"They have to cross all their T's and dot all their I's, and even though it makes the whole thing a longer process, it has to be done right," land owner Elizabeth Rahn said.
Rahn would live right across one of the temporary towers and says she has no problem with them being there. Other land owners strongly disagree.
"Whether it's a conditional use permit or a temporary use permit, the towers disrupt the line of sight. We believe their existance is more important than the data they collect for the promotion of the project they want to pursue," Winnie Peterson said.
Minish says that these towers have to go up first to collect the data before any idea of a wind farm can go forward.
"All that information has to be gathered first, then sometime, when we have a difinitive plan, when we lay it out to the county, we'll know where we want to put the towers and where we might not want to put the towers," Minish said.
"Those of us who live in Lincoln County can tell you there's plenty of wind and you don't need to put up $180,000 worth of towers to do that," Peterson said.
If Dakota Power Community Wind decides to file for the temporary use permits, there will be a 30 day period before the issue will be discussed in an open public hearing.
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