By Nick Worth
The Navajo County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution Tuesday approving a special use permit for the Apache District Wind Farm, LLC.
The wind farm company was seeking the permit in order to place a temporary meteorological (MET) tower to measure the area’s winds for the potential of developing a wind generating facility on a site located approximately 13 miles southwest of Holbrook.
Trent Larson, director of the Navajo County Planning and Zoning Department, told the board the land in question is owned by the Aztec Land and Cattle Company, and that the Apache District Wind Farm is proposing a second MET tower. The company already has one in place to the northwest of the proposed tower, near Highway 377.
Eric Simons of Apache District Wind Farm told the board the proposed tower would give the company more data to determine if the wind resource will be enough for the commercial project.
“It will be six to 12 months before we can have a decent idea of the wind resource,” said Simons.
District III Supervisor Sylvia Allen read a letter to the board from a constituent, raising concerns over the health impact of wind turbines.
Larson told Allen and the board that the concerns over the impact on health of wind turbines is premature, as the tower being proposed is only for the purposes of gathering meteorological data, not for generating electricity.
Simons told the board it would require at least a year’s worth of data to determine the output of the project and that his company is requesting a three-year permit for the tower.
District IV Supervisor David Tenney asked if the tower would come down at the end of the three-year period and Larson said it would, unless the owners requested an extension of the special use permit.
The tower is designed to be built to a height not to exceed 200 feet.
The board unanimously approved the permit.
The board also heard a request from Dave Young, who was seeking a special use permit to put a mini-storage facility on his 24-acre property at the corner of Concho Road and Concho Ocho Road. The property is located east of Snowflake, and is zoned for single family residential use.
Jerry Sommers, a resident of Concho Ocho Road, told the board his property is located directly to the north of the proposed mini-storage. Sommers said there are other similar facilities in the immediate area and that those facilities have unused units available. He questioned the need for another similar facility.
Sommers also told the board he has several concerns, including the potential for dust, the type of security lighting that would be installed, the location of a nearby bus stop and mailboxes, the drainage of a pond on the property, how the sewage would be handled from the house and office planned for the north edge of the property, and the quality of the construction materials to be used in the building of the storage units.
Young told the board construction materials would be of a high quality.
“I’ll be a good neighbor to you,” he told Sommers.
Doug Brimhall of Tetra Tech in Show Low, the project manager, told the board the sewage from the house and office would be handled by a septic tank and leach lines, and that they would put down a layer of gravel for dust abatement.
Allen asked what type of lighting would be used, and Brimhall said lights mounted on poles would not be used.
“The intent is to have the lighting on the sides of the buildings,” he said.
The board then approved the special use permit.
In other action April 23, the board:
* Approved an intergovernmental agreement between the Navajo County Superintendent of Schools, Education Service Agency and the Apache County Superintendent of Schools, Education Service Agency in order to expend American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds.
* Heard a presentation on the 2013 fire season for the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.
* Approved the repeal of the Outdoor Fire Ordinance and adopted a new Outdoor Fire Ordinance.
The new ordinance will set the county’s standards to be the same as those of the National Forests and other agencies.
* Heard a county finance update from county Finance Director James Menlove.
Menlove told the board he is projecting the county to be in the black by approximately $22,000 and that state sales tax revenue continues to be strong. County sales taxes showed a slight gain, he said.
* Acknowledged and recognized Jeanine Carruthers’ contributions to Navajo County and Public Works.
* Approved a memorandum of agreement between the Hardrock Chapter and Navajo County to repair NR8027 with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) awarded emergency assistance.
* Awarded contracts for supplying and delivering liquid asphalt products to Cactus Transport, Inc., and Hawker & Evans Asphalt Company, Inc.
* Dismissed an appeal received by RDO Equipment Company in response to a bid protest for the purchase of a backhoe loader, terminated the contract with RDO Equipment Company and awarded a contract for the purchase of a backhoe loader to Empire Southwest LLC.
Public Works Director Homero Vela told the board the RDO John Deere backhoe did not meet the hydraulic specifications outlined in the county’s original bid.
Greg Smith, representing Empire Machinery, the Caterpillar dealer in Show Low, explained the Caterpillar’s hydraulic pumps to the board.
* Awarded a contract for hot asphaltic concrete pavement overlay to Combs Construction Company, Inc.
* Adopted a resolution approving a special use permit for Overgaard Compassion Care to operate a medical marijuana dispensary 11 miles east of Overgaard on Highway 277.
* Heard a presentation about wildland fire training and Arizona Department of Transportation equipment Roadeo.
* Approved a letter providing input and direction to the State Transportation Board regarding Navajo County’s preference on the Five-Year transportation Plan.
* Approved tax exemptions for widows and widowers for 20 properties.
* Approved sending a letter to Arizona Counties Insurance Pool acknowledging the designation of County Manager James Jayne as the authorized representative to the pool.
* Approved a quit claim deed to Miroslov Roth.
* Approved a quit claim deed to Nabil Mowad.
* Approved personnel actions.
* Approved a proclamation declaring April as Fair Housing Month.
The proclamation is a requirement of Community Development Block Grant funds.
Acting as the Navajo County Public Health Services District Board of Directors, the board approved the renewal of a contract with the Arizona Department of Health Services for the Navajo County Child Fatality Review Team at a fixed price contract for $10,000 annually for the period of July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2018.
Acting as the Board of Equalization, the board:
* Swore in the county assessor.
* Voted to keep the valuation of two taxpayer notices of claim for two properties located in Venture Inn.
Acting as the Navajo County Flood Control District Board of Directors, the board approved a professional service contract with J.E. Fuller Hydrology and Geomorphology for an amount not to exceed $80,000.
By Nick Worth