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Dispute over wind farm proposal turns hostile

Cattle let out to escape ahead of zoning board meeting

Staff writer

As the county board of zoning appeals prepares to consider a conditional use permit for a proposed wind farm April 25, relations between landowners in the 22,000-acre area the wind farm would span between Florence, Peabody, and Aulne are tense.

National Renewable Solutions delivered its CUP application to the county planning commission last week. The proposed Expedition Wind Farm grew out of a wind farm project originally the idea of Florence resident Rex Savage. NRS purchased the former Windborne Energy project in July 2018, renamed it Expedition Wind Farm, and has since met with landowners and county commissioners.

Many landowners near the proposed wind farm have raised objections — so many the county held its March 11 meeting at Marion Community Center. That meeting, attended by more than 100 people, lasted five hours with comments from both supporters and opponents of the wind farm.

Rural Peabody farmer Randy Eitzen told county commissioners Monday he wants them to reconsider an earlier idea of imposing a moratorium on installing wind turbines in the county.

“It’s starting to get so bad where they want to put the wind turbines in, we’re starting to have neighbors angry at neighbors, and they’re getting really

WIND

worried something’s going to happen,” Eitzen said.

Eitzen, who raises cattle, said he’s found gates left open, allowing his cattle to escape, and had to go round them up.

“I don’t know who’s doing it,” he said. “You’ve just got too many people getting really upset about the situation.”

Eitzen said people have called him to tell him others said they were “out to get him.”

A moratorium was discussed earlier, but commissions have not imposed one.

The CUP application to be considered April 25 is the fourth CUP submitted in relation to the wind farm project. Three earlier CUP requests were submitted before NRS purchased the project from Savage.

After the 7 p.m. April 25 planning and zoning commission meeting which will be held at Marion County Lake Hall, a protest period will run through May 10. Planning and zoning can submit a CUP approval request to commissioners on or after May 13.

Last modified April 11, 2019

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