Site approved for enXco
WORTHINGTON -- The Nobles County Planning Commission Wednesday night approved a conditional use permit for enXco, a wind energy development company based in Minneapolis, to construct a switching station and maintenance facility in Nobles County.
It was the second time the commission has addressed enXco's request to permit land for the company to begin site development.
In October, planning commissioners approved a request by enXco to permit NSP/Xcel Energy-owned land in the northeast quarter of Section 23, Summit Lake Township, as a potential location for the switching station and maintenance facility. A second option, in the northeast half of the southeast quarter of Section 23, Summit Lake Township, was tabled at that time due to concerns about its access from a gravel road.
On Wednesday, commission members were offered a new alternate site for the potential development of the facilities. enXco's regional project development manager, Ian Krygowski, said his company is still in talks with Xcel Energy regarding the site approved in October, though an agreement has not yet been made.
"We need to keep moving forward," said Krygowski, adding that the analysis work needs to get started yet this fall so that the company is ready to begin construction next spring.
"We are asking the planning commission to approve both properties, and we will continue to work with Xcel," Krygowski said.
The secondary site approved by the planning commission Wednesday night is located in the south half of the southeast quarter of Section 23, Summit Lake Township. The site is accessible via Nobles County 14, a hard surface road.
"enXco ... doesn't have a preference on one location over the other," Krygowski said. "We would look to the planning commission to guide us on what you think is the most efficient."
Two neighboring property owners attended the meeting, both to raise concerns regarding aesthetics of having the facility nearby.
Bob Schreiber, who owns property immediately west of the alternate site, said he would like to see a tree buffer required at the site to block the view.
"I'd rather be looking at trees than a maintenance facility," Schreiber said.
Al Madison, a property owner to the north, also requested trees be placed around the site.
"The trees would be a definite plus in my mind. My main concern would be noise from this facility," Madison said.
In the end, the planning commission approved the permit with the conditions that trees and or shrubs be planted at the site, that a five-year maintenance plan on the trees be utilized to ensure growth and that the final plan be approved by environmental services during the preconstruction meeting.