County of Lincoln, NM Wind Energy Conversion Systems Ordinance
In 2011, the County of Lincoln passed an ordinance for the placement, construction, use and modification of wind energy conversion systems (WECS). The county wanted to ensure that WECS were consistent with the County of Lincoln’s land use policies, minimize the potential negative impact of WECS, and establish a fair and efficient process for review and approval of applications.
The county felt that the public, property owners and wind companies needed protection with the development of upcoming wind farms in their County. The county initiated meeting with property owners, wind companies and County government officials to discuss what was needed in a WECS ordinance. After several meetings, and draft ordinance revisions, the county and stakeholders developed a proposed ordinance to present to the County Commissioners, at which time all stakeholders reached an agreement on the content. Stakeholder collaboration was key in getting the Commissioners to pass this ordinance. At the public hearings, no one made an objection about the adoption of the ordinance. All stakeholder groups supported the ordinance during the public hearing, and it was adopted by the County Commissioners unanimously. Curt Temple, planning director of the Lincoln County, said “This ordinance was by far the smoothest, with the least amount of resistance ordinance passed by the County in some time.”
The ordinance recognizes the importance of wind energy as an energy resource; however, they also recognized that WECS may pose safety concerns to the character and environment of the county and its inhabitants. The ordinance establishes a single, comprehensive application and permit process intended to minimize the negative impacts of WECS, establish a fair and efficient process for review and approval, assure an integrated, comprehensive review of environmental impacts of such facilities, and protect the health, safety and welfare of Lincoln County and its inhabitants.
Additional information on this case study:
County of Lincoln WECS Ordinance (590.53 kB)
Issue: Utility Siting
Community Type: Rural
Location: County of Lincoln, NM
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