Supervisors Implement Moratorium On Wind Farms

Having approved a fourth wind farm for Antelope County earlier this year, it’s going to be awhile before any future wind farms are approved.
Meeting last week, the Antelope County Board of Supervisors adopted a six-month moratorium on wind farm. The moratorium means Antelope County will not accept conditional use permit applications for any new wind farms. Antelope County Attorney Joe Abler went on to tell the supervisors that the moratorium will remain in effect for the full six months or should such a time come where new zoning regulations have been adopted. New zoning regulations would first have to be studied, approved and recommended to the county supervisors for final approval.
The moratorium will not affect the conditional use permit approved recently for Upstream Wind Energy for construction of a 160+ wind turbine farm to be located primarily north and east of Elgin. Nor will it affect the operation of three existing wind farms, Prairie Breeze I, II and III located primarily around the Elgin community.
That wasn’t the only matter involving wind farms which the supervisors dealt with at the July 5 meeting. Zoning Administrator Liz Doerr informed the supervisors that county resident Judy Wilcox had contacted her about a blade on a wind turbine east of Elgin which had malfunctioned, shutting down the wind turbine. Doerr said Wilcox was concerned about safety since a number of wind turbines’ lights were no longer working.
The road has been closed to all but local traffic, according to Road Boss Casey Dittrich.
Also during the meeting, considerable time was spent discussing whether to target county funds towards road repairs or buying new equipment to use as opposed to hiring equipment for work to be done. After a good exchange of ideas and dollar amounts, the supervisors agreed to seek bids for road maintenance equipment.
From Asphalt To Gravel
Nearly a year ago, it was hinted at. Now, for at least one mile near Elgin, it has come to be. As Antelope County continues to wrestle with increasing maintenance and repair costs on its hard-surfaced roads, it has begun to make the decision that some of those roads will be returning to gravel.
Last August, Antelope County Supervisor LeRoy Kerkman visited with The Elgin Review about the numerous factors that the county has to weigh as they discuss the hard-surfaced roads. Costs of repairs and consideration of the amount of traffic on specific roads has led to the removal of asphalt on a nearby road.
If you are a frequent user of the black top that goes south between 527th and 528th avenues (527-1/2 Avenue) east of Elgin, you already know about the change. The road was asphalted in the 60s and recently the asphalt on the first mile between 839 and 838 roads has been removed.
Supervisor Kerkman said that it will not be returned to asphalt. “We’re turning it back to gravel,” he said told the Elgin Review last Thursday. Drivers need to know that the initial turn south off of 839 RD (the blacktop going east out of Elgin) is now gravel and to drive accordingly.