Tuesday (July 18) Lincoln County voters will decide how close industrial wind towers can be in relation to structures.

A vote yes will increase the setback to one half mile. A vote no will keep the current rules in place.

In 2009, Lincoln County Commissioners approved a distance of three times the tower height which Brian Minish of Dakota Power Community Wind deems the old rules as reasonable.

Dan Peters/Results Radio

“The 2009 ordinance is one of the strictest in South Dakota. Most counties have (a setback distance) 1,000 feet or less. State recommends 1,000 feet. We felt comfortable (the county) had addressed the issue. A group comes along and tries to change that. If you have to be back a half mile from any residence, it leaves almost no room available for wind turbines. At the same time you have to be two times the height away from property lines.”

Winnie Peterson of WE-CARE South Dakota favors the stricter option with safety as their group’s motivation.

Winnie Peterson
Dan Peters/Results Radio

“Fifteen counties are opposed to the current setbacks because it’s not safe for their citizens whether it’s three thousand, five thousand or fifty thousand feet. It’s a matter of appropriate, sensible safe sites for whatever kind of industrial use they want to construct that comes in contact with families, farms, parks and the kinds of things that communities have a community for.”

Studies have shown that the best potential for wind generation in the county would be in the sparsely populated southern townships.

Voters will cast their ballots in their regular polling places with the polls open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. More information is available a the Lincoln County website.

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