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Proposed wind farm in Botetourt County continues to be hot topic

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BOTETOURT COUNTY (WSLS 10) - We're learning more details about a proposed wind farm in Botetourt County.

It's a controversial issue that has sparked continues debate. Charlottesville company Apex Energy proposes to place up to 25 wind turbines along a three-and-a-half mile stretch of North Mountain.

Apex officially filed for a special exceptions permit with the county recently.

The company says the mountain ridge here in Botetourt generates enough wind to produce around 75 megawatts of electricity. That's enough to power around 20,000 average homes.

The company had to comply with Botetourt County's new wind ordinance supervisors put into place in July. That restricts the height of the windmills to 550 ft. tall and the sound they produce to 60 decibels or below. Company representatives say if they get to go-ahead, the biggest part of the project people will notice in the construction.

"Construction is the most disturbance that happens. Once the construction is over, everything is reclaimed and the access roads will remain, and there will be turbines and sub-stations at the base of the mountain, but during construction, there will be some more traffic for trucks to get in here. That's something that we anticipate to be as limited as possible."

If built, the wind farm would be the first of its kind in the State of Virginia.

This past July, several homeowners filed a civil suit against the county for that ordinance allowing the wind farm proposals - saying it wasn't restrictive enough.

The attorney representing those homeowners, Tammy Belinsky, says that case will be heard in Botetourt Circuit Court on December 16. Apex says it plans to host an Open House for the community here in early December. It hopes supervisors will come to a decision on whether or not to approve the project early next year.