Iowa zoning board to make recommendation on wind farm
WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — A county zoning board in northeast Iowa is set to hear a long-running dispute over a proposed industrial wind farm.
The Black Hawk County Planning and Zoning board will make its recommendation Tuesday on whether the Washburn Wind Energy farm should be built south of Waterloo, The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported . The county Board of Adjustment will make the final decision on the project April 24.
The 35 wind turbines would produce 70-megawatts, which is enough to power 26,000 homes, while reducing carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel power plants, said Felix Friedman, a company spokesman. The project would also generate more than $35 million in lease and tax revenue to landowners and local governments over 30 years, he said.
The project includes a new substation, underground power lines, a meteorological tower and an aircraft detection lighting system tower. Washburn Wind said it has all the required easements and land leases for the project.
Cedar Valley Citizens for Responsible Wind Energy is concerned about the project’s impact on the area’s health, wildlife and property values. Group members fear their quality of life will be reduced by shadow flicker and noise from the spinning blades, flashing lights and the size of the structures. They’re also concerned about the structures disrupting radio, cellphone and TV signals.
Wind energy groups say wind turbines have been operating in some areas for more than two decades and don’t have negative health effects.
Jerry Steimel farms in southern Black Hawk County and has agreed to have 3.5 turbine sites on his land. He said he wouldn’t have agreed to the towers if he believed they would negatively affect his quality of life. The turbine payments will help cover losses in corn and soybean profits, he said.
Washburn Wind Energy is a subsidiary of RPM Access, which has developed about 17 percent of the wind farm projects in Iowa.
Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, http://www.wcfcourier.com