Columbia County to hold hearing on wind project zoning changes

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DAYTON — Columbia County commissioners will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. on June 26 at the Courthouse to consider changes to the county’s zoning code that have been requested by Portland General Electric.

PGE is in the process of purchasing development rights for the Lower Snake River Wind Facility Phase II from Puget Sound Energy, which completed Phase I of the project in 2012. The Oregon utility has requested the county exempt energy-generating facilities from zoning regulations that prohibit significant alterations to nonconforming buildings and structures, and also prohibit their restoration if more than 50 percent of the structure is destroyed.

This change would allow PGE to maintain wind turbines even if the county later changes the zoning code in a way that would make the turbines nonconforming.

PGE has also requested that a section of regulations that describes decommissioning requirements for investor-owned electric utilities regulated in Washington be modified to include Oregon-regulated utilities.

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