Wind project site catches some officials by surprise

Lay-down yard in progress north of Hallsville


CLINTON — The county’s zoning administrator recently approved a staging area, known as a lay-down yard, for the planned wind energy project.  But some county officials expressed frustration they didn’t know about it.

Work on the lay-down yard began north of Hallsville about two weeks ago.  Zoning administrator Aaron Paque’ told land use committee members on Monday he issued a certificate of zoning compliance for the site associated with the wind project. 

“Right now, they are currently in the construction phase of the lay-down yard,” Paque’ said.

Committee chairman Terry Ferguson said the language for the lay-down yard was included in Enel’s application for their special use permit for the wind project, “along with a concrete patch plant.”

But, some members of the committee said they were unaware the yard had been approved until seeing photos of the site work posted on Facebook.

“Our ordinance is pretty specific that construction lay-down yards don’t require a building permit,” Ferguson said.  “Aaron (Paque’) made the call that it did meet the criteria for the special use permit.”

Aaron Kammeyer asked if, by approving construction of the lay-down yard, it somehow implied Enel had met all the requirements of the special use permit for beginning the wind project.  The county approved the special use permit in 2020.

Ferguson and Paque’ both said it did not.

Paque’ said a letter issued to Enel officials was clear that approval of the lay-down yard “did not absolve them of meeting the other conditions.”

• See the complete story in the Friday, Apr. 16 print edition of the Clinton Journal or Wednesday in Journal E-Edition for subscribers.