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    Woodbury County Board to host public hearings on wind farm changes


    August 5, 2022 - Caitlin Yamada

     

      SIOUX CITY — Three public hearings have been set to discuss changes to Woodbury County's commercial wind farm setback distances.

      The hearings will take place at the next three board of supervisor meetings: Aug. 8, 16 and 23. The hearings will give the public an opportunity to voice their opinions on the setbacks as well as give supervisors an opportunity to review the staff's draft.

      The Woodbury County Board of Supervisors previously voted to move forward in amending a wind energy ordinance increasing the distance between wind turbines and county residents from the current 1,250 feet.

      Supervisor Rocky De Witt proposed a 2,500-foot increase stating all of the supervisors have received numerous comments from citizens wanting the increase. De Witt said he has had zero people contact him in favor of keeping the current setback distances.

      The board voted 3-2 to move forward amending the ordinance to a 2,500-foot setback.

      The ordinance was initially approved in July 2021 creating rules for commercial wind farms such as setback distances from public and private property and safety rules for secondary roads.

      Prior to the creation of this ordinance, the county had a zoning ordinance that allowed wind energy in agricultural preservation and general industrial zones. The ordinance approved in 2021 only affected commercial wind energy development.

      Chair Keith Radig said he is not supportive of amending the ordinance because it would "all but eliminate wind in Woodbury County."

      "I don't think that is within our job description," he said.

      The full setback distances in the ordinance are:

      - 110 percent of total height from adjacent property lines, unoccupied residences, confinement feeding operation building, public road right-of-way and public conservation areas;

      - 1,250 feet from occupied residences;

      - 600 feet from cemetery or city limits and;

      - 110 percent of total height from adjacent property lines, unoccupied non-residential buildings and confinement feeding operations buildings.

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