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Unless the Tipton County Plan Commission clarifies language in the revised wind ordinance, no wind farms will be built in the county next year. The Tipton County Board of Commissioners Monday voted to extend a moratorium on new wind energy developments through the end of 2014. The measure passed 2-1, with Commissioner Mike Cline dissenting.
Evans said Cline’s alleged financial interest in property which stands to earn lease payments from the Prairie Breeze project was irrelevant. Since Cline didn’t vote to purchase anything or obligate the county with a contract, he didn’t break the state’s criminal law against conflict of interest, Evans decided.
The Tipton County Commissioners tabled the vote in early November on a measure that would modify the county’s rules for wind farm developments ...The Tipton County Plan Commission recommended approval of the changes on Oct. 17. Among the modifications are increased setback requirements and changes concerning noise, lighting and shadow flicker.
What happened? In May, E.ON Climate & Renewables canceled an appearance before Delaware County Council after receiving signals that the council would reject the company’s request for property tax abatement for a wind farm. At the same time, the city-county plan commission postponed for 2-3 years action on an ordinance to regulate wind farms, so the county could research the impact of other Indiana wind farms on property values.
The approval depends on the developer, Clean Line Energy, getting approvals from the Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana state utility commissions before starting construction in Kansas. The order also specified that construction must begin within five years, and that Clean Line can’t recover any of its costs from Kansas ratepayers.
The commissioners have four choices when it comes to the changes. They may approve the amendments, deny the amendments, send the measure back to the plan commission for modifications or table it, Cline said. The commissioners have 90 days to take action.
The final version of the amended ordinance has both supporters and opponents of wind energy unsatisfied with the final version. Jeff Harlow, a supporter of wind farms, said “It practically shuts everything down. With the setbacks there is no hope for wind farm development.”
The BZA on March 20 approved a conditional use permit for Prairie Breeze and set a condition of a 1,500 foot setback from property lines and required the creation of a property value guarantee. ...It is alleged in the complaint that the BZA exceeded its authority on placing conditions on the wind farm development in the granting of a conditional use permit, outside the parameters of the county’s wind ordinance.
The new ordinance sets the following: setbacks will be 1,500 feet from a property line and 2,640 feet from a residential dwelling; shields will be placed on turbine lighting; shadow flicker is limited to 30 minutes per day and 30 hours per year; and noise levels are limited to 5 decibels above the ambient level. It also address how wind farms will be approved in the future.
"This has probably been the most divisive issue I've ever seen in this county," explained Tipton County Planning Commission President Jason Henderson. "It's pitted neighbor against neighbor and people who would wave to each other, now don't talk to each other."
Juwi Wind filed a civil suit seeking a judicial review of the BZA’s decision to issue a permit with conditions outside the county’s established wind ordinance. The BZA imposed a 1,500-foot setback from property lines for the placement of wind turbines and required creation of a property value guarantee plan. The complaint alleges the BZA exceeded its authority in placing the conditions on the wind farm development.
In a response to the Public Access Counselor, [BZA President Jerry] Acres said the vote taken did not require a public hearing because it merely attempted to clarify an upcoming meeting and set the ground rules. A civil action is pending, filed by juwi Wind against the BZA and Acres, seeking judicial review of the actions at the July 31 meeting. The suit alleges the actions violated Indiana’s Open Door Law.
Those who thought they'd heard the last of the words "controversy" and "wind turbine" in the same sentence in Culver, Indiana, may have been surprised at what they heard at last Tuesday's Culver plan commission meeting. To be fair, however, the discussion was congenial and exploratory on all sides, and the issue at hand was not the hotly debated commercial wind turbines banned earlier this year throughout the entire county, but personal Wind Energy Conversion Systems (or WECS). Specifically, the commission debated how -- or if -- to regulate the use of such devices within the corporate limits of Culver and within the wider zoning boundary under the commission's purview.
The Tipton County Plan Commission is struggling to decide how to site future wind energy developments in the county. The options have been narrowed down: use the existing mechanism, which involves the Board of Zoning Appeals, create overlay districts where wind farms are permitted or rezone property from agricultural to industrial to designate areas where turbines may be built.
Melka said a June study found on May 20, the 50-decibel noise limit was exceeded by one turbine. He said the level was 51.6 decibels. "There was a potential turbine operating issue," he said. "The turbine was not facing the wind properly. The wind was coming from 240 degrees and the turbine positioned itself at 220 degrees."
The Tipton County Board of Zoning Appeals is requesting funding to hire an attorney to represent it in two court cases regarding the proposed Prairie Breeze Wind Farm.
No wind farms at all. That's the new stance of a group originally formed around opposition to the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm proposed for northwestern Tipton County. The Tipton County Citizens for Responsible Development was formed earlier in the year when the juwi Wind project was first announced and has concentrated its efforts in amending the county-wide ordinance to place greater restrictions on wind turbines.
"We have not set a time frame to amend the county wind ordinance," Tyler Moore, president of the board of county commissioners said. "We're confident with the moratorium and with the restrictions placed on the development of wind farms."
Since it began operation in January, numerous complaints have been filed about the Wildcat Wind Farm in northern Tipton County. At least one is valid, said Steve Edson, administrator of the Tipton County Plan Commission. ...Wildcat developer E.ON Climate & Renewables has until Sept. 24 to resolve the issue.
BZA President Jerry Acres opened the meeting stating his opinion that the board should not consider modifying the setback requirement of 1,500 which was made a condition when the BZA approved a conditional use permit for the wind farm. The board voted 3-to-1 to deny the request from juwi Wind without conducting a public hearing or allowing testimony from the company, affected landowners and the public.