Milton-Freewater Council to discuss wind farms

The Umatilla County Planning Department is currently reviewing development codes for wind farms.

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MILTON-FREEWATER - City Council members will discuss their objections to proposed changes to county wind farm codes on Monday.

Among the objections expected to be discussed are the socioeconomic effects of building wind towers along the base of the Blue Mountains.

"A lot of people are not going to pay to come to an area where they previously enjoyed a classic rural countryside and now be looking at wind turbines all over the area," Council member Ed Chesnut said.

The Umatilla County Planning Department is currently reviewing development codes for wind farms.

But Chesnut said those proposed codes fail to include a requirement for an economic impact study.

"If wind turbine facilities are put on the Blue Mountains and between town and the Blue Mountains, we are going to have a significant impact on the economy," Chesnut said.

City Manager Linda Hall said the city may ask to have the setbacks increased and possibly start at the urban growth boundary, rather than the current city limits.

"When you are looking at a piece of paper, and you are looking at two-thirds of a mile, that is a long way. But when you are looking at a turbine that is that big, all of a sudden two-thirds of a mile is not that much ... these turbines are huge. So are we OK with actual city limits or do we want to punch that back," Hall said.

The Council will discuss the proposed code changes at its Monday meeting, 7 p.m. in the Albee Room of the City Library, 8 S.W. Eighth Ave.

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