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Wind company gets go ahead for testing towers in Harmony and Bristol Twps.

Fri, Nov 16th, 2007
Posted in Government

PRESTON - The Fillmore County Planning & Zoning Commission approved four conditional use permits at its November 15 meeting, including two permits for wind testing towers.

A California company that develops, operates and manages wind energy projects throughout the United States, enXco, was granted conditional use permits to construct meteorological towers in Bristol and Harmony townships. enXco is the company that developed the 100 MW Grand Meadow Wind Farm.

One 60 foot tower would be erected on property owned by Richard Berg in Section 19 Harmony Township, and a second tower on land owned by Robert and Carol Miller in Section 18 of Bristol Township.

According to Steve Edwards, project manager, the two sites are four miles apart. It is hoped that the data between the two testing towers would correlate and lead to further development.

Edwards told the commission that testing usually lasts two to three years. He said that a 200 MW project is planned for the area, assuming the data is consistent with development. If 1.5 MW turbines are used, 134 wind towers would be erected.

Edwards said that the energy generated would be sold on the grid through load centers. The energy from the Grand Meadow Wind Farm is presently sold to Xcel Energy.

Kari Brown of enXco said that the company hopes to erect the towers this fall weather permitting.

Commission member Duane Bakke, who acted as chairman during this discussion because Steve Duxbury recused himself for a potential conflict of interest, said that actual permitting to erect towers and produce energy would be handled through the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. The permit will be sent on to the County Board for final approval.

Big Springs Quarry

The commission granted Curt Roverud of Spring Grove a conditional use permit to expand the Big Springs Rock Quarry in Harmony Township. Roverud is in the process of purchasing land adjoining the existing quarry and intends to mine that land in the future. According to the application, the site holds 9 million tons of rock deposit.

Because Roverud owns the existing quarry as well as the adjoining parcel, he will not have to abide by setbacks between the two properties.

The matter will be forwarded to the Fillmore County Board for final approval.

Fetterly Restaurant/Bar

Terry Fetterly was before the commission applying for a conditional use permit to operate a restaurant/bar in Spring Valley Township on land zoned commercial.

Fetterly hopes to develop the historical Spring Valley Coop Creamery into a bar and restaurant that would seat 80 customers.

Barb Eastvold, a neighbor, asked whether Fetterly intended to clear any trees on his land for a parking lot. She also raised questions about traffic as there had been three accidents on Hwy. 16 this year.

Fetterly assured Eastvold that no trees would be cleared on the site. He intended to keep trees already on the property as a buffer.

Fetterly responded to the traffic issue by saying the problem this year had been at the intersection of Oak Hill Drive and not at the township road leading to the creamery.

The commission approved the permit on the condition that Fetterly meets all state, federal and local ordinances.

The county board will look at the permit at their November 27 meeting.

Other Business

Dave Shanahan resigned his appointment to the Fillmore County Planning & Zoning Commission. Ann O'Connor of Carimona Township was nominated by the Fillmore County Unit of Townships to fill the term. She was appointed to the Commission at the November 15 meeting.

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