April 15, 2010

County hears OTESCo requests

County hears OTESCo requests

By ALLAN TINKER
OTESCo was part of two meetings on the subject of wind farm developments and zoning in Sheridan County in April
The first meeting, at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, April 6, was part of the regular county commission board meeting. All Commissioners, Eldon Ehrman, Howard Erdmann, and Michael Axt, were present as well as County Auditor Shirley Murray.
The Sheridan County Commissioners heard a request from OTESCo (Otter Tail Energy Services Company) representatives Kirby Anderson, Myron Rader and Tom Hrdlicka on zoning proposed changes as well as progress notes on the proposed Sheridan Ridge I and II wind farm projects. Hrdlicka presented the proposed zoning requests. They included no changes to the zoning rules that would impact the current conditional use permit they have already secured from Sheridan County two years ago.
They cited changing the rules now might create considerable additional costs to the project and render it less feasible economically.
Specifically, they asked that the removal/restoration after a wind tower site is vacated be only to the present three-foot depth, not to a proposed four feet. They stated that construction below the frost line “won’t heave up” and the buried lines would be very destructive to the soil surface to dig them up to remove. The lines are put in with a single cut and when they are no longer used, they are “abandoned” and belong to the landowner. They can be then removed, if desired, but the landowner for salvage, or simply left in place. They are seen to currently present no ecological or other detriment to the use of the land.
OTESCo also asked that if they sell a portion of the current wind farm easements that the terms remain as they currently have them, for the new owner. This makes the sites more “saleable,” said Kirby Anderson, Director of Wind Development for OTESCo.
The OTESCo representatives also thought it would be “extraordinary” to have to deal abide with both old and new provisions in the development or operation of the wind farms.
Hrdlicka noted that they like to deal with Sheridan County because they are a “straight forward place.”
 


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