County commission discusses wind energy, need for research

After the Marion County Commission recessed from its meeting at the Marion City Building, it returned to the courthouse to continue with the remaining agenda items.

The discussion also continued about the wind turbine project being proposed by Expedition Wind Project, based in Wayzata, Minn., with Pat Pelstring representing the group.

With a smaller contingency of people, either for or against the wind turbine project, the commission agreed to have EWP bring specific issues forward as if a conditional use permit was approved.

In doing so, Commissioner Kent Becker said, it would mean EWP would discuss its terms regarding setback, decommissioning, road maintenance agreements and other issues the commission is unsure about.

Sharon Olmstead, director of the county’s planning and zoning department, said that it needs 20 days after publication to have a meeting on the wind turbine CUP.

Commissioner Dianne Novak said there are a lot of things to study, but Becker said all of those things can be addressed in the P&Z setting.

Olmstead said once the meeting announcement is published, the committee can table the issue until more research is collected, questions are answered and more.

Or, she said, special meeting can be held, as long as the committee has a quorum wants to continue with questions or gathering other information.

The committee, she said, can also decide to make a determination to the commissioners, and in turn, the commission can continue to discuss the issues, table it or agree to the conditional use permit.

The next time the commission will discuss the wind energy project again will be at its Monday, March 25 meeting.

In other business, the commission:

◼ approved going with a sectional door rather than a roll-up door for the transfer station at a decreased cost of about $600 making the total price $2,396.

◼ heard from Bud Druse, director of the transfer station, who talked about tires and the need to get rid of them.

Druse said the tires need to be quartered and submitted bids for a machine that can tear the tires into four pieces.

Commissioner Randy Dallke asked what the cost is for car tires and grader tires. Druse said it’s the same price for the public as it is for his department to cut the tires. It’s $2 for cars and $10 for grader tires.

Druse said if they try to add more to the fee, his concern would be in seeing more tires thrown in ditches.

The commission requested Druse research the matter further and come back with more on mounted machines.

◼ heard from Cory Nelson, who said he would like to build a house in the county but wanted to find out about what the county can do to help with keeping the road up to his property once he decides to build.

◼ approved a paramedic being hired.