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Originally published Friday, November 19, 2010 at 10:22 AM

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E. Idaho county restricts wind farm development

Planning commissioners in eastern Idaho's Bonneville County have established a boundary restricting where wind farms can be built.

The Associated Press

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho —

Planning commissioners in eastern Idaho's Bonneville County have established a boundary restricting where wind farms can be built.

At a meeting that started Wednesday and ended early Thursday morning, the planning and zoning commission created a "turbine zone" in the southern part of the county where wind farms will be allowed.

"We decided on that so we could take some time to slow down and figure out how to allow these (turbines) without infringing on other people's rights," Commissioner Bryon Reed told the Post Register.

Chairman Doyle Beck said the turbine zone stretches south and east from the foothills near Idaho Falls, that the eastern boundary is along an elk preserve, and that the border with Bingham County forms the southern edge.

Commissioners said they based their decision on testimony from landowners during public meetings held over several months.

Developers faced few zoning restrictions before the turbine zone was put in place.

Some areas where developers have already applied to build turbines were excluded from the restrictions. One area is Meadow Creek, where Seattle-based Ridgeline Energy wants to put in a wind farm.

The company has appealed a planning commission denial of the request, but that process won't be affected by the latest restrictions because it was started before the turbine zone was put in place.

The boundaries of the turbine zone could still be changed.

"This may be very temporary," Commissioner Tom Hunsaker said. "Whatever decision we make doesn't have to be permanent."

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Information from: Post Register, http://www.postregister.com

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