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Wind developer eyes two new locations

By KALEY LYON

Hays Daily News

The much-contested proposed wind farm site southwest of Hays is not the only area being considered for a project location, County Commissioner Perry Henman said at Monday's meeting.

Henman said Hays Wind project manager Krista Gordon contacted him last week and said locations in the southwestern and northern parts of Ellis County also are being pursued.

"She wanted to inform me that I may have property in the wind farm north of Ellis," Henman said.

While Henman said he wasn't offered a lease, he said Gordon is talking to landowners in these areas to gauge interest.

"She said she's in the process of verbally talking to people who may be interested in doing that," he said.

The potential location north of Ellis also could include land in Trego County, Henman said.

Henman said that, while the southwest part of the county is not heavily populated, he was told this option was the least feasible, partly because it would involve building longer transmission lines.

However, Henman also said, until the current process of revisiting countywide zoning regulations is complete, his stance on the issue of wind generation in the county is unlikely to change.

When the application for a wind project southwest of Hays came before the county commission in September, it was denied 2-1, with Henman dissenting. At the time, he stated he believed the current zoning regulations were "insufficient" for such a project.

The Ellis County Planning and Zoning Commission has decided to accept suggestions from the public as part of a process to review and potentially amend current regulations.

While it's too early to release details, Gordon confirmed additional locations in and surrounding Ellis County are being researched.

"We're not restricting our search for new parcels to Ellis County," she said. "We're considering outside the county as well."

Reporter Kaley Lyon can be reached at (785) 628-1081, Ext. 138, or by e-mail at klyon@dailynews.net.