The wind development discussion is far from over in Lincoln County. Supporters of Dakota Power Community Wind aim to hold a special election over tower setback levels.

Lincoln County Planning and Zoning originally proposed a one mile distance between homes and wind towers. The County Commissioners voted to reduce that distance by 50 percent plus allow a waiver for landowners who would want it closer. Winnie Peterson of WE-CARE South Dakota who is against the project believes the commissioners made a fair ruling.

“(The ruling) protects the general safety and health of the community which is what the commissioners are sworn to do in the ordinance purpose and mission. It also allows individuals to make up their own minds about what happens to them on their own property.”

Supporters have a 20-day window, which closes in early June, to submit enough petitions among Lincoln County constituents to bring it to a vote. Peterson spells out what’s at stake.

“On one side, you keep the law the commissioners this spring which is about a five and a half block setback from a home. On the other side, would be reverting back to the original setback which would be half that distance or two and a half blocks for the physical distance between an industrial 500-foot wind turbine and a person’s home.”

Once the petitions are turned in and verified, the Lincoln County Auditor will have to hold an election within 60 days of certification. Regardless of anyone’s feelings about wind energy, Peterson states her goal is to give people as much information as possible before casting a vote.
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