MOTT—During a special meeting, the Hettinger County commissioners voted to approve a conditional use permit for the Brady Wind II project, recommended by the Zoning and Planning Board of Hettinger County; the application was previously approved by the board. Both votes were unanimous.
By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Brady Wind II, LLC, is a 72-turbine wind farm proposed by NextEra Energy Resources.
This puts to rest a lengthy process that had county members on both sides of the project voicing their opinion, some more loudly than others.
NextEra Engery opened the meeting presenting information to the nearly full courtroom at the Hettinger County Courthouse in Mott.
Public comment followed.
Many who opposed the project were worried about the sanctity of the landscape being negatively affected, while the supporters were quick to bring up the rights of property owners. One resident said that the board should approve the permit if the project falls within the boundaries of the zoning laws of Hettinger County.
Non-supporters argued that even though they are not participating, and agreed that property owners have the right to do what they wish, that their property will be negatively affected by sight of the giant turbines.
John Wert, who had previously petitioned to alter zoning laws to require a greater distance between turbines and homes, said that he thought after you look at all of the negative aspects of the project, the only positive is money.
“We have a hard decision to make,” John Plaggemeyer said during the special meeting. “We know there will be people happy about it, and we know there will be a few people [not] happy about it.”
In the end, each county commissioner said they didn’t come to their decision in haste, and each had done their due diligence in researching this project, from consulting with attorneys to contacting other states with similar wind farms.
Plaggemeyer said he was satisfied with the decision the board made.
The next step for NextEra will be to apply to the Public Service Commission. NextEra Energy Resources Project Directer Melissa Hochmuth told The Herald she thinks the hearing for Brady Wind II will take place sometime in late spring.
Read the April 15 edition of The Herald for expanded coverage on this story.