The Lincoln County Commission was affirmed by the voters in their decision to approve larger setbacks for wind turbines giving a fresh look to rules set in 2009.

Voters in the rural areas in southern Lincoln County that would have been the likely location for the towers were overwhelming advocates for the larger setbacks. Unless a landowner signs a waiver, turbines must be one half mile from any habitable structure.

Winnie Peterson who has led WECARE-SD until recently before handing the reigns to Dave Brouwer, thanked the volunteers who prepared voters for their decision. Peterson said the successful outcome for their cause is not the absolute end of their work.

“Lincoln County is still growing and the commission will still need to work toward updating land use and zoning ordinances. We want to be able to respond to what affects Lincoln County residents and provide information to voters and commissioners when the conditions are warranted.”

As a general rule, where turnout was high, the people voted yes. Most of the urban areas had lower turnout but mostly were in favor of the towers being closer.

For example Norway, Fairview, Highland, Canton, Lincoln and Delaware townships, all south of Harrisburg, had over 50 percent turnout. Ten other precincts had more than 20 percent participation and all but the Lennox precinct were heavy yes voters. The Sioux Falls, Harrisburg and Tea precincts were all below 17 percent turnout.

Margin of victory for the measure was less than 900 votes (3,672 to 2,704) with an overall turnout of 16.8 percent.


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