Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Winds Of Approval Result In New Montezuma Turbines

Winds Of Approval Result In New Montezuma Turbines
By Danny Bernardini
Article Launched: 03/25/2008

More than a year after the project first came to the county planning commission, 75 wind turbines were approved Thursday to be built in the Montezuma Hills.

The project had been postponed at several meetings after officials at Travis Air Force Base raised concerns the new turbines might cause interference with a new radar system.

But after the Air Force's objection was taken back earlier this month, the project was approved by the Solano County Airport Land Use Commission before being approved 4-0 by the Solano County Planning Commission.

The next step is for the applicant, enXco, to receive building permits and then begin construction, said Greg Blue, regional manager of external affairs. He said the process went a little longer than normal. However, he is happy all the correct steps were taken.

"We were glad to come to a final resolution where Travis and the wind farm can co-exist," Blue said from his San Ramon office. "Every project has issues that need to be resolved and we try and be proactive. We asked for the continuance, because we knew we had to come to a positive resolution."

One detail that remains to be resolved is enXco's offer of up to $1 million to Travis that the base may use to offset any potential radar issues caused by the turbines. Blue said the offer still stands, but the appropriate steps must be taken by the Air Force before the gift may be accepted.

The issue of $1 million originally was included in the county staff reports for the planning commission, but was removed prior to the vote after several commissioners said they felt the language did not belong, according to Ken Solomon, planner with Solano County.

"They felt it was inappropriate for a land-use issue," Solomon said. "They said 'If the Air Force doesn't have a problem, then why should they?'"

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