Letters, opening statements begin county’s wind farm permit hearings

Gordon Woods / Journal Pro-wind farm residents greeting people at the door Tuesday for the first of seven scheduled hearing for the Alta Farms wind energy project.

CLINTON — Pro- and anti-windfarm groups nearly filled the Clinton High School auditorium Tuesday night for the first of seven scheduled hearings to determine if Tradewind Energy should receive a special use permit for the Alta Farms wind project.  About 200-225 people attended the hearing.

Before receiving comments from those at the hearing, county zoning administrator Angie Sarver read into the record a group of letters, emails and telephone calls to her office from residents who could not attend the hearing.  As a legal proceeding, comments in the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) process are recorded as testimony.

Before reading the letters into the record, Sarver informed ZBA members that some signatures relating to five parcels within three of the Tradewind lease agreements were missing required signatures.  She urged consistency through the entire process by having all required information submitted.

Among the letters Sarver read as testimony, Alice Kropp, an out-of-state trustee of land in the area of the planned wind energy project, wrote to oppose granting the special use permit.

“I do not want this wind energy conversion system and facility,” she wrote.

She wrote that she wanted the land located near Wapella to remain in exclusively agricultural use.

A landowner near Waynesville wrote to object to the projected shadow flicker caused by wind turbines as well as the possibly unacceptable noise level of the turbines.

Robert Bishop wrote that he talked to representatives of Tradewind about a concern he had about wind tower setbacks near his property.  They told Bishop they would see if they could adjust the setback.

“Everyone at Tradewind treats me very well,” Bishop wrote.

Ed Harpenau contacted Sarver to say he supported the special use permit for the Alta Farms project.

All of the correspondence presented by Sarver was from residents owning property in the area of the planned project who were notified by the county about the hearings.

James Griffin, attorney for Tradewind, presented an opening statement, essentially reasserting his and his client’s opinion that the proposed wind project meets the requirements of the county’s wind energy ordinance.

“If you have reviewed the application, you will see the application itself demonstrates compliance with all parts of the ordinance,” Griffin said.

Tom Swierczewski, developer for the Tradewind / Alta Farms project also spoke.  And, other Tradewind representatives also were scheduled to speak.

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