May 29, 2024

Supervisors extend wind turbine permit suspension to July

With about three weeks until Union County’s abeyance of commercial wind turbine projects was to expire, Union County Board of Supervisors Monday extended the suspension until July 12, 2024.

Supervisors just wanted more time to make sure all aspects of the ordinance were reviewed and suggested changes were fair.

“While reviewing and researching wind turbines and the community and impact of industrial scale wind farms, the board of supervisors are very close to amending and adopting an ordinance that will address and balance all the conflicting interests associated with the interests to Union County property owners, the business interest of wind farm development companies and the safety and well being of the county as a whole,” said supervisor chairman Rick Friday.

The abeyance started in March, after supervisors were informed of proposed expansion of wind turbines in the county, mainly along the southern portion. Union County has has more than 30 turbines, mainly in the northwest corner of the county, since 2020. Friday said the county’s initial work on the ordinance started in 2018.

In March, supervisors questioned if the original ordinance could still apply to additional turbines, the response from citizens based on the existing turbines and possible consequences of allowing more turbines. This year is also the first year for Dennis Hopkins as a supervisor.

“We want to get it right,” Hopkins said about adding additional time. “I think we are there, it’s just the process.”

Supervisor Dennis Brown made the motion to extend the abeyance to July. It was second by Hopkins. All voted in favor.

Since March, supervisors have reviewed and compared ordinances from other counties that have turbines. Supevisors have reviewed setbacks which is the minimum disance a turbine must be from either a property, like a house or a property line. Supervisors have also heard from officials from the Southwest Iowa Hot Air Balloon Days held annually in September in Creston how additional turbines would impact the event. The event utilizes Creston’s airport located south of town.

“We don’t want to extend it again,” Hopkins said.

In other supervisor news...

Supervisors are waiting for legal counsel as Monica Henrich returned to the supervisors to inform them nothing is different about the frequency of cattle getting out of a pasture. The area in question is along Unicorn Avenue near Union County Road H45. She informed the supervisors of the issue in early October.

“Nothing has changed,” she said. Her concern is the potential for a car collision with a cow causing damage and or serious injury.

Township trustees have also been informed of the issue. Supervisors encouraged Henrich to continue to call law enforcement when she notices cattle out of the pasture, despite her saying it is embarrassing to call multiple times for the same complaint. She said the fence is in poor condition allowing cattle to roam.

“He needs to be held accountable,” she said about those involved with the cattle.

Henrich said in October that going back to 1999 she has had a problem with the owner of cattle getting out of the pasture.

Union County Engineer Christian Boehmer informed the supervisors of a plan for sections of several county roads to have new lines painted next year. Bids are expected to be let March 19 with a work schedule to follow. Farm to Market Road funding will pay for a large majority.

Sections of roads range from less than 1 mile to about 10 miles. Some sections of certain roads were repainted as part of the U.S. Highway 169 detour last summer.

180th Street from Adams County line to the cemetery.

Cromwell Road from 180th Street to U.S. Highway 34.

150th Street from Adams County line to Highway 25.

P17 from Highway 34 to the end of pavement.

High and Dry Road from Patt Street to the Ringgold County line.

140th Street from Highway 25 to Green Valley Road.

130th Street from DNR Road to Green Valley Road.

Green Valley Road from DNR Road to Creston.

Cherry Street from Creston to Adair County.

REA Road from Cherry Street to Lorimor.

160th from North Ash Street to North Osage Street.

North Osage Street from 160th Street to Howard Street.

South Cherry Street in Creston to airport entrance.

Pole Road from Highway 34 to 240th Street.

K Road from Highway 34 to end of pavement.

Lark Avenue from 170th Street to Highway 34

Twelve Mile Lake Road.

Old Highway 34 from Highway 34 to Afton.

190th Street from Afton to High School Drive.

High School Drive from 190th to end of pavement.

150th Street from Nighthawk Avenue to Creamery Road.

Third Avenue in Thayer.

Willow Avenue from Highway 34 to end of pavement.

Ringgold-Union Street from Main Street in Shannon City to U.S. Highway 169

John Van Nostrand


An Iowa native, John's newspaper career has mostly been in small-town weeklies from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. He first stint in Creston was from 2002 to 2005.