Gage County Opposing State Legislation on Wind Tower Setbacks

BEATRICE – The Gage County Board Wednesday took a formal position opposing a legislative bill that would establish state setback requirements on wind energy projects.

The bill, LB 373, offered by Senator Tom Brewer, is scheduled to be heard Thursday afternoon in the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.

Gage County Zoning Administrator Lisa Wiegand says the bill would establish a setback between wind towers and residences, much greater than that in local regulations.

:16                  “development”

Gage County zoning regulations contain a one-third of a mile setback requirement for non-participating landowners in a wind energy project…and no setback requirement from participating landowners.  County Board member John Hill says the three-mile setback proposed in the bill, is excessive.

Wiegand says Brewer’s bill also makes no provision for a variance from setback based on wind turbine height and would not allow a county to allow a project setback to go to a variance committee.

Gage County Supervisor Matt Bauman says wind energy is a local zoning issue.

:11                  “local issue”

The Gage County Board’s vote to oppose the bill was 6-1, with Supervisor Gary Lytle the only dissenter.  He favored contacting area senators, rather than submitting a letter of opposition.

:20                  “with this letter”

Board member Dennis Byars supported submitting the letter of opposition to the bill, saying such a move has an impact on the legislative committee.

:20                  “in Gage County”

County Board Chairman Erich Tiemann says his opposition to the bill is based on wind energy projects being a local, not state issue.

Brewer’s bill is opposed by the Nebraska Association of County Officials, a lobbying organization on behalf of counties.

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