Wind farm moves ahead ward

Work is continuing on the Lundgren Wind Project.

The Webster County Board of Supervisors approved utility permits for Wanzek Construction to directional bore electrical lines to 10 wind turbines in the project, which is located throughout southern Webster County.

The board also voted to permit Wanzek to temporarily modify four intersections, in order to bring their oversized loads in.

“In order to bring in those large loads, they need to widen and flatten the turning radius – at their expense,” said Randy Will, county engineer.

The company will be required to put pipe in if needed to avoid impeding county drainage. It will be required to return the intersections to their original condition after work is done.

Permits were approved for the intersections of 290th and Madison; 290th and Nelson; 290th and Oak; and 310th and Madison. Will said a total of 15 intersections may be modified in the future.

“We have weekly meetings with the contractor. We keep up to speed on what they’re doing and address concerns on a weekly basis,” he said.

Construction on the Lundgren Wind Project started last fall. An estimated 300 construction workers are expected to come to Fort Dodge to finish the project, and the wind farm will generate 250 megawatts of electricity when complete, according to Abby Bottenfield, a spokeswoman for MidAmerican Energy.

The board also held the first of three public hearings on an amendment to Zoning Ordinance 46.

The board voted to unanimously approve the first reading, after removing one article. That article would determine where an “accessory structure” like a garage could be built on a lot in rural districts.

Planning and Zoning Administrator Sheilah Lizer said the purpose of the article was to keep garages from being built too close to the property line, particularly in subdivisions. The article would require building to be behind the setback line.

But Supervisors Merrill Leffler and Clark Fletcher said the language in the ordinance would prevent anyone from building a garage in front of their house, even if the house was set far back from the property line.

Lizer said the Planning and Zoning board could revisit the issue and come up with some firmer language.

Leffler also said property owners should have a means to appeal when they have an issue with a zoning ordinance.

The supervisors also praised the zoning board’s work.

“The people on the board research the issues; they don’t just come to a meeting,” said Supervisor Mark Campbell.

Gowrie will be getting new signs soon. Two directional signs with a logo for the city will be installed along Iowa Highway 175, and a digital sign will be installed within the Gowrie city limits. Both signs were paid for by POET Biorefinery, Lizer said.

“This is a great partnership between the community of Gowrie and POET,” Campbell said.