County in South Dakota to revise wind energy ordinances
Jul. 25, 2017
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Officials from a county in central South Dakota have decided to revise wind energy development ordinances amid public debate.
The Hughes County Planning and Zoning Commission made the decision Monday after holding a public forum to take questions and discussion on the issue, the Pierre Capital Journal (http://bit.ly/2eKF7Km ) reported.
The statewide debate landed in Hughes County this spring after several ranchers and farmers leased land to Infinity Renewables, a California wind-and-solar-energy company planning to develop two wind farms south of Harrold.
The company pays landowners $10,000 to $15,000 per turbine annually over a 50-year lease, said Michael Bollweg, who turned down the company's offers to build up to 10 wind turbine systems on his family's land.
Bollweg said the hunting lodge he runs attracts clients around the nation and world, making "the aesthetic value" of their land without windmills worth more than money from Infinity. He's also worried that neighboring landowners may allow windmills to be built, diminishing Bollweg's land, hurting the views and making noise.
One revision increases the setback distance of windmills from a neighbor's residence from 1,000 feet to 1,400 feet. Bollweg said he'd rather see a half-mile setback.
Infinity representative Christine White told the zoning commission that a half-mile setback would make it difficult to find enough sites for the turbines.
The zoning panel asked county staff to add some revisions to the proposed ordinance, including a solid definition of property boundaries, before the next zoning meeting in late August.
The county commission put a six-month halt on wind development until the county ordinances have been revised and finalized.
Information from: Pierre Capital Journal, http://www.capjournal.com