Newman area residents continue conversation on proposed wind farm

By Kayleigh Rahn
The Douglas County Plat and Planning Committee meeting agenda was quite light Friday, Sept. 7, though despite the few agenda items the committee addressed topics weighing heavily on those in attendance.

Board chairman Don Munson, who is not a member of the committee, but sat in Friday as an ex-officio officer, said he had considered a request by community members to have the proposed moratorium of the county wind ordinance placed on the agenda for a vote in the upcoming Wednesday, Sept. 19 board meeting.

Two Newman-area residents asked County Clerk Judi Pollock to place the motion on the agenda, Munson reported. Pollock then, following protocol, informed Munson of the request, he said.

In June, rural Newman resident Paul Freebairn asked the board to consider the moratorium to allow time to rework portions of the wind ordinance as efforts by EDP Renewables to land a wind farm in the Newman area began to increase. The main concerns from residents include the required setback outlined in the ordinance. They’ve requested that the set back from a property line increase from 1 times the turbine tip height to 3 times the turbine tip height. Freebairn and others have sited shadow flicker, ice throw, effects of low-frequency noise, and disturbance to the prairie landscape as their major concerns against the turbines.

The board has not formally considered the moratorium, though they’ve directed county engineer Jim Crane and Douglas County State’s Attorney Kate Watson to consider the request and the talking points.

During Friday’s committee meeting, Munson said he, personally, would not place the motion on the Sept. 19 agenda at this time.

“It’s not within our proper procedures for the public to set an item on the agenda,” Munson said. “It’s at the chairman of the board’s discretion what items go on that agenda and for that reason I have decided that, and I referred it to this committee for them to undertake that request, and if they would like for that item to be placed on the agenda they may do so.”

The full story can be found in the Wednesday, Sept. 12 edition of The Tuscola Journal.

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