Once again I feel compelled to write on the subject of Big Wind.
First, I would like commend and thank Jerry Acres and his Board of Zoning Appeals for standing their ground against juwi. In previous hearings Mr.
Acres has always stated exactly what the ground rules were and what was going to happen at subsequent hearings. I'm appalled juwi's attorney tried to drag Mr. Acres' reputation through the mud. Juwi has played its legal games since the nine-hour BZA hearing in March didn't get the decision it wanted. Clearly juwi's intentions are to continue to batter the BZA until it gets what it wants. When juwi's attorney implied that the BZA was in collusion, I had to ask myself, how many times has juwi met privately with some of our Board of Commissioners and Plan Commission members? All the while the meetings that we are allowed to attend we must sit quietly and watch as most of our commissioners do exactly what they want, public sentiment is damned.
Mr. Michael Rucker, CEO of juwi Wind, was quoted as saying that the chairman of the BZA has created a dysfunctional, unstable business environment for investors looking to create economic development opportunities and jobs. Once again I say to Mr. Rucker, thanks so much for your concern for the citizens of Tipton County. If the industrial wind turbines will not affect property values, why the big fight in providing a property value guarantee as a requirement of the conditional use permit you were given at the end of March? Oh, and the jobs the wind companies like to promise are temporary and not going to go to local workers. The few permanent jobs will be skilled labor from Indy most likely, or other surrounding cities or states.
Some people who may not be following this story closely may not know that juwi initially missed the 30-day deadline to appeal the March BZA decision. Then in May it provided a two-sided copy of something it called a property value protection plan (PVPP). It was in no way adequate to protect the amount of loss expected to be sustained by homeowners if the turbines go up. Then in July, after the BZA told juwi it was not going to modify the 1,500-foot setback from property lines, juwi sent a letter to Steve Edson that it would accept the 1,500-foot setback but was not going to provide the PVPP as required by the BZA in March. Mr. Edson responded back that the BZA would not hear a modification request on the PVPP either. All these maneuvers were designed to move towards filing a lawsuit against the BZA and county that juwi wasn't given its "right to due process," really? What the heck was the nine-hour meeting in March all about? What about our rights as non-participating homeowners. If this was such a great and wonderful thing for the county, why weren't the leaseholders telling all their neighbors?
So now that the leaseholders are filing suit, and juwi stating its intention to do so, we can look at more county money being spent. Isn't it ironic that the very company that wants to do business in our county is also willing to sue us too? If this is how it treats Tipton County now, how do you think it treats us once it gets its foot in the door? Make no mistake, it is a large company that could care less about the county and its citizens, it's all about money.
This publicity is exactly what the wind companies wanted to avoid when they came in quickly and quietly to get leases signed and no one said a word. They and others like them (you can't begin to imagine how many more wind companies there are) understand that their business is controversial at best and damaging to the very communities they move into. They have done this a thousand times, and Big Wind knows from experience that people will stand and fight for their home value, health and safety.
Juwi, please, just take your ball and go home.