- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 25, 2018

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - A county board in northeast Iowa has approved a 35-turbine wind energy project despite strong opposition from many residents who live near the development.

The Black Hawk County Board of Adjustment voted Tuesday to give Washburn Wind Energy a special permit for the 70-megawatt project south of Waterloo, The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported .

Washburn now needs to conduct required studies and apply for building permits for the $120 million project.

Supporters have said the project will benefit the environment and generate jobs, tax revenue and economic activity. Opponents are concerned about the project’s potentially negative impacts on their health and property values.

Board members Larry Oltrogge, Lucas Jenson and Diane Depken voted in favor of the special permit, while Steve Rosauer and Dr. Laval Peloquin voted against it.

Jenson said he focused on the Board of Adjustment’s role when he made his decision.

“Our role here is to look at the applicants and see if they conform to the county ordinance,” Jenson said. “I do feel the applicant has met all the requirements set forth by our ordinance.”

Rosauer said the board plays a broader role in protecting the community.

“Our standards do say that the establishment, maintenance or operations of the special exception will not be detrimental to or endanger the public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare,” Rosauer said. “That’s a judgment we have to make.”

Washburn Wind Energy is a subsidiary of RPM Access, which has developed about 17 percent of the wind farm projects in Iowa.

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Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, http://www.wcfcourier.com


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