Posted 6/23/15 (Tue)
By Kevin Killough
In a two-to-one vote, the Lindahl Township board voted to approve a conditional use permit with a setback variance for a planned wind farm project north of Tioga.
The township joins Tioga Township in recommending county approval of the permit.
Tioga Township voted on the issue last week.
Lindahl Township supervisor Brian Hove voted against approval of the variance and stated he didn’t feel the township should be involved in the variance approval process.
“The county should have took this over,” Hove said.
The variance permits the developer to place wind turbine towers less than the required 1,400-foot setback from structures.
This variance only applies to unoccupied structures and doesn’t affect setback requirements from roads, power lines, and sectional lines—all of which have their own setback requirements.
Tradewind Energy, the project developer, will still be required to keep all turbines 1,400 feet or more from occupied structures, such as houses.
The developer was also required to get signatures of approval for the variance from each landowner who would be affected by the setbacks.
All property owners within the project boundaries have signed agreements with the developer, and almost all of them will have turbines located on their property.
Any turbines within the project boundaries will still need to maintain the standard 1,400-foot variance from structures located on properties outside the project boundaries.
“So if there’s a structure right across the road from the project, we still have to be 1,400 feet away from it,” said Brice Barton, senior development manager for Tradewind.
At the meeting, a show of hands by the township residents present showed an overwhelming majority for the project.
Township supervisor Jerol Gohrick, who voted for approval of the variance, disclosed a financial interest in the project.
The township vote only provides a recommendation to the Williams County Planning and Zoning, who will then make its own recommendation to the county commission for final approval or denial of the conditional use permit and the variance.
The developer must also get approval from the North Dakota Public Service Commission, which is a separate process.
The county planning and zoning board will hold a hearing on the permit on June 25 at 6 p.m. at the Broadway Commons Conference Room, located in Williston at 302 E. Broadway.