Windmill ordinance could ban Storey project |

Windmill ordinance could ban Storey project

Dave Frank
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer

Storey County could block a 69-windmill project planned for mountains north of Carson City and west of Virginia City under a new ordinance.

The proposed rule would ban windmills visible from historic areas including Virginia City.

The Storey County planning commission will talk about ordinances regulating windmills, hillside building and night lighting at its meeting Thursday.

Austin Osborne, a planner with the community development department, said the county started work on the commercial and home windmill ordinance before the windmill project by Reno-based Great Basin Wind came up.

The county is evaluating its master plan to help handle growth in the county and the rising popularity of alternative energy, he said.

All the ordinances are aimed at preserving the county’s history and natural beauty, he said.

“We want to make sure our grandkids say this is still a nice community,” Osborne said.

Rich Hamilton, president of Great Basin Wind, said he couldn’t comment on the proposed ordinance because he hasn’t seen it.

He said the county and the company have everyone’s best interest at heart.

“It will be something that works for the county and works for the citizens and us,” he said.

County officials have said they oppose the $200 million to $400 million windmill project expected to generate 192 megawatts of energy for thousands of homes.

The 300-foot windmills in the New Comstock Wind Energy Project would hurt the authenticity and tourism in 19th-century mining towns like Virginia City and Gold Hill, said Susan Sutton, executive director of the Virginia City Convention & Tourism Authority.

The project would kill hundreds of people’s ways of life on the Comstock, she said.

Most of the project would likely be in the National Historic District and about half would be in the Comstock Historic District.

Great Basin Wind is going through what could be a two-year application process with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management that will determine more details about the project.

The company will go to the planning commissions of Virginia City and Carson City in February to get permission for the New Comstock Wind Energy Project.

– Contact reporter Dave Frank at or 881-1212.

WHAT: Storey County Planning Commission meeting

WHEN: 6 p.m. Thursday

WHERE: Second floor of Virginia City Courthouse, 26 S. B St., Virginia City