May 29, 2024

County supervisors hear data center concerns

Adair County Courthouse

The Adair County supervisors plan to take a look at a possible ordinance soon that would regulate future data centers that are built within the county.

During a meeting Tuesday, April 2, officials with the company Applied Digital talked about their hopes of building a large scale data center on land near an existing electrical substation and transmission line located in the 1200 block of Fallow Avenue southeast of Adair.

A public hearing has been set to consider an ordinance during Wednesday, April 24′s meeting, but concerned citizens came to last Wednesday, April 10′s meeting to give input also.

Supervisor Matt Wedemeyer said he spoke with Dan Dreher, who lives in his district and has land very near to the proposed site, after the April 2 meeting, to see what he had heard. The main concern residents have is that they wish the data center not be “right on top” of neighboring farmsteads. Dreher attended last Wednesday’s meeting, along with Paul Ehm, Tanya Lamb and Curt Beane.

Setbacks could possibly be placed in an ordinance to remedy concerns of proximity. The supervisors noted enforcability could be an issue if agreements of participation have already been signed or land has already been sold.

Either way, an ordinance could send a message to future developers that while the county is open to progress and development, its leaders want to be in the know and work together for the best interest of all parties.

The supervisors did acknowledge a “good faith” effort by Applied Digital because they came to a meeting to talk about their plans before carrying them out, and they didn’t have to.

The supervisors talked about past efforts like these for wind power and solar. In 2019, that group of supervisors put setbacks in place for wind turbines and placed a cap of 535 wind turbines being erected in the county. In 2021, similar restrictions were put in place for solar development, after solar farms were built in the county.

Concerns were shared about these ordinances being too little too late. The supervisors talked about how eventually, zoning may be needed to to protect landowners’ rights. No unicorporated areas of the county are zoned at the present time.

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson has served as News Editor of the Adair County Free Press and Fontanelle Observer since Oct. 2017. He and his wife Kilee live in Greenfield. In Greenfield and the greater Adair County area, he values the opportunity to tell peoples' stories, enjoys playing guitar, following all levels of sports, and being a part of his local church.