Lawrence and Douglas County seek public’s feedback on draft wind regulations

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Lawrence and Douglas County community members are invited to a meeting Thursday and an open house on Jan. 30 to discuss a new draft of wind energy regulations.

The Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission directed city staff members to review Wind Energy Conversion System (WECS) regulations “in order to better align the wind regulations with recently adopted solar regulations,” according to a news release from the city.

The draft regulations are now available for public comment; see the full PDF below.

According to the release, “A WECS is a system of wind-driven generators that convert wind energy into electrical power. An individual machine is also referred to as a turbine, wind tower, windmill, or wind pump. A WECS may be for personal or commercial use, these two varying uses are referred to as P-WECS and C-WECS, respectively.”

Draft wind regulations meeting info

• City of Lawrence / Douglas County community meeting: 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12, at the Greenbush Resource Center, 1104 East 1000 Road (click here for a map).

• Open house on the proposed regulations: 2 to 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30 at the City Hall Riverfront Building, 1 Riverfront Plaza

The draft revising the regulations provides additional information within the P-WECS section, “creating greater clarity for staff and applicants who have interest in developing personal windmills on their property,” according to the city’s website.

“Staff was also asked to draft language which would implement additional design standards for any commercial scale wind farm operations, and propose an extensive application which would require studies to assess visual impacts, noise impacts, infrastructure impacts, and environmental impacts of any proposed turbine sites,” the website continues. “The draft revised regulations also propose language to establish assurances within the commercial-scale wind farm section to create a system where the developer is responsible for impact to roads. It also establishes a process for mitigation in responses to community concerns/complaints, and a thorough plan for decommissioning and reclamation.”

The city and Douglas County are hosting a community meeting to discuss the proposed wind regulations at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12, at the Greenbush Resource Center, 1104 East 1000 Road (formerly Wakarusa Valley Elementary School; click here for a map).

City and county staff members will share a presentation about the proposed changes and hear feedback from the community. Staff members will then present the comments received at the meeting to the planning commissioners during their next meeting, set for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23 at Lawrence City Hall.

There will also be an open house on wind energy regulations from 2 to 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30 at the planning offices, Suite 320 at 1 Riverfront Plaza, where community members can meet with planning staff and ask any questions about the draft, according to the release.

“Ahead of creating the current draft regulations, City staff spent many months researching best practices, reviewing nearby regulations adopted by other communities, and discussing industry standards with professionals,” according to the city’s news release.

People may also submit written public comments regarding the draft language to until 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5. Learn more on the project website.


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