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Residents' concerns about wind farm to be addressed at next El Paso County commissioners' meeting

March 17, 2017 Updated: March 17, 2017 at 6:17 pm
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A wind farm near the Paint Mines Interpretive Park is pictured on Tuesday, December 29, 2015. Photo by Stacie Scott, The Gazette

A meeting next week will give locals the chance to learn more about a controversial wind farm near Calhan.

At the El Paso County Board of Commissioners' regular meeting on Thursday, officials will provide an update on NextEra Energy's Golden West wind farm, which was completed in the fall of 2015.

Representatives from the Florida-based energy company are expected to provide information on the sound levels of the 145 windmills and detail the wind farm's compliance with local regulations, according to a county news release. Data will also be provided on shadow flicker, which occurs when sunlight shines through the turbines' rotating blades.

El Paso County Assessor Steve Schleiker will outline a report on property sales in the area, the county said.

Commissioners originally approved construction of the wind farm in 2013 and OK'd changes to the plan in February 2015 after NextEra proposed a 29-mile above-ground power line instead of the buried power lines that were included in the initial plan.

Some residents have expressed concerns about the wind farm affecting their health. Last spring, several people living near the wind farm told The Gazette they've suffered headaches, dizziness and nausea due to the inaudible, low-frequency sounds and shadow flicker from the turbines.

Other residents worried that property values near the wind farm would decline after it was constructed, but data previously released by Schleiker's office suggest the opposite.

In June, the assessor reported a 37.6 percent rise in market value near the windmills, which he attributed to the overall upward trend in the real estate market throughout the county.

Commissioners meet every Thursday at 9 a.m. at Centennial Hall at 200 S. Cascade Ave. The meeting will be streamed live online at www.elpasoco.com. It will also be broadcast live from El Paso County News and Information Channel, on channel 59 for Comcast cable customers and channel 1089 for Century Link high definition television customers.

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Contact Rachel Riley: 636-0108

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