Douglas County Commission to revisit wind turbine regulations

Ten months after adopting regulations for wind energy towers, the Douglas County Commission on Wednesday will consider a text amendment to county codes that further defines terms in the regulations.

Consideration of the amendment will be during the 6 p.m. time slot reserved for controversial issues or planning and zoning issues that require public hearings.

Wind towers in rural Douglas County were controversial in November 2013, when NextEra Energy sought permits to install two wind measurement towers in southern Douglas County. That application and public concerns prompted a two-and-a-half year in-house county effort to provide for the regulation of wind energy towers and the County Commission’s approval of a series of moratoriums on wind tower permit applications.

By the time a wind tower text amendment was adopted in June 2016, the absence of any large wind tower applications appeared to take the wind out of public concern on the issue as only two residents spoke during a public hearing. The adopted text amendment allowed large wind towers capable of generating more than 50 kilowatts to be approved through the county conditional use permit process and smaller ones for personal or small commercial on-site use to win approval under the county’s building permit procedures.

Sandra Day, planner for the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Department, said the text amendment to be considered Wednesday provides definitions of terms in the previously adopted text amendment and aligns the county’s requirement with state and federal regulations. There are no new conditions, she said.

At the 4 p.m. portion of their meeting, commissioners will consider a recommendation to adopt the county’s employee health insurance plan. The recommended plan would have employee’s provide 10 percent of the cost for an individual health insurance plan and 20 percent for those employees with one or more family members joining them on a plan.

The Douglas County Commission meets at 4 p.m. Wednesday in the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St. To view the commission’s complete agenda, visit