The moratorium on wind energy applications passed by the Clinton County Planning and Zoning Commission last month is now in place.
The Clinton County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday, February 2, to sign off on an amendment to the county’s zoning ordinances placing a moratorium on all wind energy applications until the planning and zoning board can review – and potentially amend – their wind energy regulations.
The planning and zoning board passed the amendment on Friday, January 22, but the move essentially represented a recommendation to the Clinton County Commissioners. Planning and Zoning Administrator Beth Farwell presented the commissioners with the recommended amendment on Tuesday. A small group of moratorium supporters attended the commissioners’ meeting and watched as the commissioners swiftly acted on the amendment.
“I appreciate the planning and zoning committee not having a knee-jerk reaction to the situation (and) taking time to investigate all of the facts – pro and con – and then being able to make a good decision that will be helpful to the residents, one way or the other, of Clinton County,” Second District Commissioner Larry King said prior to the meeting on Tuesday.
The moratorium comes as NextEra Energy, a company based in Florida, attempts to gain local permitting with which to build wind turbines in north central Clinton County. From their latest proposal, the company – which was previously permitted to build wind turbines in Clinton County but cooled on the project when a potential energy buyer fell through – is looking to build up to 33 turbines in Clinton County. NextEra is also working to erect turbines to the north in DeKalb County.
Clinton County Presiding Commissioner Wade L. Wilken, Jr. said Tuesday he believes - should NextEra build wind turbines in the county - the commission has no intention of negotiating possible tax incentives with the company.
The planning and zoning board will be back in session for their regular monthly meeting on Thursday, February 4, at the Clinton County Courthouse. The board is scheduled to begin reviewing the county’s wind energy regulations and proposed amendments to the zoning code.