Company loses turbine permit appeal
A Wichita investment group on Thursday lost its appeal of an April decision by the county zoning department denying its application for building permits to begin construction of wind turbines.
Roger Buller and Stonebridge Investments earlier purchased rights to conditional use permits that had been granted for a proposed wind farm development south of US-50 near Florence called Doyle 4.
Although Expedition Wind is not connected to Stonebridge Investments, Expedition purchased rights to three other portions of the proposed Doyle development plan. Expedition is not a part of the appeal filed by Stonebridge.
In March, Stonebridge submitted construction applications to the planning and zoning department. The applications were revised several times before and up to the April 1 deadline to obtain permits.
In 2018, the county implemented a sunset clause that terminated previously-approved conditional use permits on April 1 if the company did not apply for construction permits by that date.
Sharon Omstead, county zoning administrator, denied the permits because she deemed the applications insufficient.
“Stonebridge repeatedly failed to provide proof that they were the Doyle 4 conditional use permit holders, or that they had any official rights to apply for a construction permit within the Doyle 4 area,” Omstead said.
The 2014 resolution approving conditional use permits for the Doyle 4 area specifically said the permits were for “an expansion of the existing commercial wind energy system.”
Omstead said she interpreted the wording of that resolution to mean the proposed development is not eligible for a stand-alone WECS facility.
“Among other mistakes, Stonebridge attempted to submit an application that mistakenly proposed the turbine to be in a location that was not even covered by the Doyle 4 conditional use permit,” Omstead said.
Last modified Sept. 2, 2020