Humboldt supervisors return to wind turbine issue

DAKOTA CITY — The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors took up the topic of wind turbines again at Tuesday’s meeting.

The board isn’t trying to attract or keep out wind turbines, Board Chairman Bruce Reimers said. The board is trying to figure out the best way to protect the roads, and drainage tiles. If a tile line was cut, broke, or destroyed it could be two years later when flooding develops that the problem comes to light, he said.

“We really need to get something in place here or we could end up being roughshod over by some of the potential wind energy farm companies,” Supervisor Erik Underberg said. “There is a lot of negative baggage that comes along. Our task is to get an ordinance on the books that protects the county as a whole, the people in the county as a whole.”

The board isn’t going to be able to please both sides but “we need to get something on the books as far as an ordinance much sooner than later,” Underberg said. “Personally the more I read about it the more concerned I become about wind farms.”

Reimers said the landowners are the ones who have the ultimate say.

However, leaving it in the hands of the people who want the wind farms would potentially lead to huge problems, Underberg said.

“We don’t want to come in late in this game,” he said. “Without an ordinance we are not doing anything in the best interest of the county.”

Supervisor Rick Pedersen said the ordinance needs to consider distance requirements from buildings, property lines, and rural rights-of-way.

“I’d like to pick a number that is toward the high end for distance,” Pedersen said. But he didn’t want a number so high that it would prevent landowners from accepting the wind turbines.

Humboldt County Assessor Linda Fallesen said the ordinance needs to specify that the county would assess the valuations of the wind farms and the revenue would come back to the county, otherwise the revenue would go to the state. Other county assessors where the wind farms have been built say the revenue is wonderful, Fallesen said.

Auditor Peggy Rice said with a subject this controversial the board would need all three ordinance readings.

The board is considering elaborating on an ordinance which has been approved in Kossuth County.

County Attorney Jon Beatty has told the board he can draw up an ordinance, but he needs direction from the board.

Underberg said he hopes that with another week of research the board could begin working on an ordinance.