Nov 29, 2020 11:05 AM

Reno County Citizens for Quality of Life want more detailed wind farm regulations

Posted Nov 29, 2020 11:05 AM

By NICK GOSNELL

Hutch Post

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Reno County Citizens for Quality of Life want to make clear, they are not anti-wind, but they want to see regulations adopted that are very specific so that landowners where any project would take place can know what they are getting into when talking about things like shadow flicker and setbacks.

"There's a lot of nuance to that that isn't defined," said Andy Helten with the group. "That's what we were trying to get defined in improving our regulations, to get these sort of quantified a little bit better than they are right now."

The key may be that anything that isn't written down leaves the decision making on that point in the hands of the developer and not the landowners. Helten estimates that roughly 86% of the residents in the footprint of the original wind project proposed by NextEra that is still working through the courts are opposed to it.

"We're saying that the target area that they are looking at right now may not be the correct placement," said Wayne Mans. "They are not able to come up with shadow flicker guidelines that we deem are acceptable."

When the NextEra proposal was voted on in June of 2019, commissioners Ron Sellers and Bob Bush voted for it. Commissioner Ron Hirst voted against it. Bush has since died and been replaced by Dr. Mark Steffen.

Steffen will leave for a seat in the Kansas Senate in January and Daniel Friesen, who was elected this month, will be on the commission after the first of the year. It appears at this point that any new regulations won't be taken up by the commission until at least early 2021.