Articles from Indiana
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Henry County Planning Commission did not have enough votes either way Thursday night to approve or deny requests from two wind farm companies who wanted a second one-year extension of the commission-approved uses (CAUs) that will let each company continue to develop their industrial wind turbine projects in the southern part of the county. The planning commission intends to discuss and possibly re-vote on the issue at its June meeting. More information about that will appear in Tuesday’s paper.
“After review of the documentation received, the appearance of procedural errors is present, while the question of good governance is also raised,” Elmore said. “The public deserves to be aware of a some questionable emails, concerning appointed or elected officials using the Planning Commission as a liaison for their personal business.”
A group of Henry County residents and property owners concerned about the local development of “wind farms” have drafted an alternative to the existing wind energy conversion system (WECS) ordinance. The group’s primary concerns are about the impact on quality of life, including the health and safety of local residents, property rights, future economic development and both the short- and long-term impact on county finances.
There is no danger of an area aquifer being polluted by a proposed wind energy project in Fayette, Henry and Rush counties.
“All of the representatives of the Federal and State agencies we have talked to so far have indicated to us they feel that the greatest risk to this aquifer is contamination by diesel fuel, hydraulic fluid, other onsite chemicals or lubricants,” he added. “Also, surface water runoff into open pit construction sites is a major concern and a possible source of contamination ... we were shocked to learn that no studies or special permits were needed to construct wind turbines on top of this aquifer.”
West Fork Wind LLC, also known as NextEra Energy Resources, last month filed a civil action in Rush Superior Court requesting a judicial review of the Rush County BZA’s decision, in December 2016, regarding NextEra’s special exception permit application for the construction of 22 industrial wind turbines within the county, as part of the West Fork Wind Energy Center project. The project is slated to span Rush, Fayette and Henry counties.
The Indiana Court of Appeals Tuesday morning issued its opinion on the case involving Flat Rock Wind, LLC. – also known as Apex Clean Energy – and the Rush County Area Board of Zoning Appeals, with that opinion upholding the decision back in July 2015 to enact a 2,300-foot setback distance, from non-participating property lines, on Apex’s special exception permits for construction of industrial wind turbines as part of the proposed wind project which is slated to span both Rush and Henry counties.
With debates raging throughout Fayette, Rush and Henry counties regarding slated wind farm projects in the area, a state representative is pushing for legislation which would give residents more of a voice concerning such issues.
Seven years ago, a company came to Fayette County wanting to develop a Commercial Wind Farm in Posey and Fairview Townships. They claim they were “invited” by the people of Fayette County. There are a lot of farmers and homeowners in Fairview and Posey Township who would like to “un-invite” them and send them back where they cam from – except it’s difficult to tell exactly where they came from.
The Area Plan Commission voted unanimously Tuesday night to reject all 11 objections made by the Clinton County Commissioners regarding the LUPAC/Wind Ordinance before a packed Circuit Court Courtroom on the third floor of the Clinton County Courthouse.
Not only were those special exception applications denied by the BZA, they added their own requirements for setback distance and turbine height for future special exception applications NextEra might submit. The BZA announced that any wind turbines constructed by NextEra, in Rush County, must adhere to a 2,640-foot setback from non-participating landowners, in addition to be 200 feet or less in height.
“I make a motion that we accept the application if setbacks are set back moved to 2,640 feet from and property line and the height restricted to 200 foot for turbines,” Steve King said. Dohn Green seconded the motion. "If they are set at 2,640 feet, it will reduce the flicker, protect human health, property value and sound/vibrations," King said. "The lower height is less visually intrusive. I think the trees would help screen them.”
There were a total of 11 (eleven) amendments made to the existing Area Plan Wind Ordinance committee verbiage.
Dozens of residents came to a Wednesday night county commissioner’s meeting thinking they still had one more chance to sway county commissioners to vote “no” to Apex Clean Energy and its wind turbines. But they soon found out their input and a vote by the commissioners weren’t need all.
The fate of two proposed wind projects, at least in Rush County – the Flat Rock Wind Project led by Apex Clean Energy, and the West Fork Wind Energy Center, led by NextEra Energy Resources – could very well be determined in the next month, beginning this very week.
Although the exemption passed, Etchison said the debate is not over and there is still recourse for those opposed to the turbines. "The system allows for an appeal," he said. "This is surely not over."
On Monday night the Warren County Board of Zoning Appeals approved an exemption allowing development plans for Jordan Creek Wind Farm to progress in the county.
The parties’ contract anticipated who is liable when transmission facilities are not available. “Duke is to pay for power not taken,” Easterbrook wrote. “Duke could build its own transmission lines or buy extra capacity from NIPSCO [a grid owner] or some other firm.”
There’s been some fuss recently, among some of the local population, regarding a couple of recent decisions made – and actions taken – by the Fayette County Board of Commissioners.
Wayne County residents will have an opportunity to give their opinion of wind farms during a special meeting of the Wayne County Advisory Plan Commission next week.