Stark County citizens, I am writing to you as a former county commissioner who aided in the 2011 negotiations and agreements with a wind energy company in Tipton County, Ind.
I was open to wind farm development in a small section of the county because there was little opposition and the lease holders wanted it. My own family was offered an opportunity to participate, but we declined for personal reasons. However, I made decisions based on what I thought the majority of the public favored.
As it turned out, the “majority” didn’t perceive the development to be as “invasive” as it was. It wasn’t until the 500-foot towers went up that people saw how enormous and intrusive they were. The red blinking lights even disturb my own summer evenings and my home is 6 miles from the closest tower. I read that your county is on the brink of a wind farm development with the promise of “jobs,” and that your ordinance will supposedly protect you.
The company’s claims that the towers do not affect anyone can be challenged by these realities.
My 83-year-old mother no longer has colorful birds coming to her feeders; my brother’s expansive, pristine “vista” from his dining room table is forever marred by giant metal structures; neighbors “for” and “against” aren’t “neighborly” anymore; people can’t sleep due to the noise; “shadow flicker” is unnerving; and because the physical presence of the towers will be there for 30 years, relationships will never be repaired.
You can’t lose something you never had, so you aren’t “losing” the supposed “windfall’ of money that the project purportedly brings in. What you will lose, however, cannot be measured in dollars. You will lose the rural landscape as you know it and you will lose what attracted people to want to locate in your county. The pool of people choosing to live amongst wind towers will decrease and, therefore, your property values.
The overriding fact that no one can dismiss is what wind farm development does to communities and to personal relationships. Whatever gains that may be realized by the wind towers, do not balance the overall negative impacts.
I leave you with this last piece of wisdom from someone who has “been there, done that”. Going forward may be a decision you will regret for the rest of your life. You would join me.