Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Indiana
While most of the updates to the county master plan were put on hold at Tuesday's Plan Commission meeting, one section on towers was approved to include resolutions on wind turbines. County Planner Mitch Bishop said the intent was to provide protection for county residents. Other portions of the master plan were tabled so commission members could think more about proposed ordinances. Bishop said there has been speculation from developers wanting to construct large wind turbines in the county and there were no ordinances regarding them.
Horizon Wind Energy LLC could begin construction on a proposed wind farm west of Brookston in about a year if all goes well with new county zoning ordinances and if design plans are developed by then. The ordinance issue, a county-wide revision of zoning ordinances in general, will include a wind ordinance with setbacks for wind turbines and other details as part of the overhaul. County Board of Commissioners President John Heimlich said the ordinance plan will come before county commissioners on Monday. "It's on the agenda for Monday," Heimlich said.
The Marshall County Plan Commission is continuing to look into preparing an ordinance concerning Wind Energy Conversion Systems (WECS). Plan Commissioner Ralph Booker gave a brief overview of ordinances that have been adopted in other counties in the state, including Tippecanoe and Benton Counties. ...Booker said the only regulation that pertains to a WECS now in Marshall County is the requirement of 15 feet from a property line and the structure must be on a foundation.
Members of the Clinton County Area Plan Commission Ordinance Review Committee spent some time Tuesday afternoon taking a close look at zoning regulations that govern potential wind farms in the county. The meeting held here is the first session the committee has had since several members toured an 87-turbine wind farm in Benton County that began generating electricity earlier this year. Clinton County's wind farm ordinance borrows much of its content from the one that was crafted for Benton County.
As of Wednesday, the county has a new policy in place. The new policy would fall under the zoning districts' utilities or miscellaneous section and be categorized as a special exception in the city and special use in the county, he said. "What we want to do is make sure adjacent property owners are notified and have no problem with it," he said. "And we want them to meet some basic requirements of height and size."
After taking two weeks to ponder their decision, the Brookston town council gave their sanction to allow a wind-energy project to expand its border Wednesday. Martin N. Culik, a project manager with Horizon Wind Energy, began discussing the expansion of the local wind-turbine project during Brookston's June 11 meeting. Horizon, a Texas company that owns several United States wind farms, has been working with local leaders and property owners to develop the necessary laws and lease the required land to build a colony of wind turbines.
The Randolph County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) Monday unanimously approved a petition for a wind energy company to install test towers at two locations in the county. "We are looking to develop a wind farm here in Randolph County to convert wind to electrical power," said Ryan Brown, a project development manager for Horizon Wind Energy. "Our goal right now is to collect wind data to help us make decisions regarding the establishment of a wind farm in the county."
The potential for profit is driving the development of an increasing number of wind farm projects, including a proposal that would generate electricity from wind that blows across rural land south of Greater Lafayette. Invenergy Wind North America LLC is developing the Tri-County Wind Energy Center, which is designed to place wind turbines on property in southwestern Tippecanoe, northwestern Montgomery and northeastern Fountain counties. ... "It's a pretty ambitious project -- anywhere from 300 to 400 megawatts in size -- thousands of acres at this point."
Even if Virginia-based AES or Oregon-based PPM Energy secures enough land to make the project feasible, the project could take years to complete - if ever. But there's no doubt wind power is increasingly practical - and that officials would like Allen County to jump on the bandwagon. "Hopefully the people out there will accept it," said Commissioner Bill Brown. "This could provide $1 million of income (for landowners) every year, increase assessed value and help the community. Wind farms also tend to generate plenty in property taxes, Burdick said. The question is: Will Coomer and other landowners conclude the benefits outweigh the drawbacks? And even if they do, would such a huge and potentially controversial project be approved by government regulators?
White County Commissioners are taking the next action in helping the county become a home for an energy wind farm as they prepare for a public meeting to review a wind ordinance. John Heimlich, president of the White County Commissioners, announced at a regular commissioners meeting on Tuesday that the draft of the ordinance is in its final stages. "An ordinance was created for the purpose of having a wind farm in White County," Heimlich said. "Without the ordinance Horizon Energy can't continue. We are bringing it to the public to get their feedback."
Several companies are expressing interest in developing wind farms in Randolph, Jay and Wayne counties. "Land owners in those counties are being approached by wind development people," said Tom Chalfant, president of the Randolph County Farm Bureau. "I'd guess 200 or 300 or more have been approached or would be affected by these projects." ...But as wind farms are developed in Indiana, "we need to give consideration to local concerns like property values and birds and bats," Menzer said. "We need to be sensitive to local concerns. We don't want to steamroll people like we've done with hog farms, merchant power plants and ethanol plants."
Supporters and opponents of Duke Energy's plans to build a new coal gasification power plant in Knox County are preparing for a public hearing this evening in Bloomington before the state's utility regulators. ..."We see this as a quantum leap in electric power generation," said John Goss, executive director of the Indiana Wildlife Federation. Coal gasification plants are "at least 10 times better at removing air pollution," he said. He also believes the proposed plant would emit about 90 percent less mercury than the existing Edwardsport plant, which was built in the 1950s. The proposed plant also would be welcome since it would open the door to study further large-scale capturing of carbon emissions, Goss said.
A new set of rules will govern the building and use of wind turbines in Lafayette, West Lafayette and rural Tippecanoe County. The two city councils and the county commissioners approved an ordinance Monday that will regulate where the wind turbines, which generate electricity, may stand within each of their jurisdictions. The new rules are in response to the likelihood that a company will soon want to build a wind farm -- or large number of the turbines -- in the county, as is already happening in Benton County.
Despite concern from several farmers Tippecanoe County Commissioners passed a new Wind Energy Ordinance. County Commissioners had disagreed about the issue, but the measure passed two to one. Area Planners say there is a growing interest in wind farming in Tippecanoe County, and they expect some wind turbines to start popping up soon. To prepare for that, County Commissioners passed an ordinance that regulates where and how the farms can be built. Some farmers are concerned about how this ordinance will affect their property. "We need some kind of regulation to make sure that there's a proper setback from residential areas because 400 megawatts in your backyard, I'm sure most people would not be interested in having that," said farmer Brian Vorst.
Fields of large energy-producing windmills are being touted as one of the solutions to America's dependence on fossil fuels from other nations. But how about in Carmel, Indiana? It's a idea that is currently blowing in the wind. In Carmel the Monon can help your health, the roundabouts can save you time and the city is currently exploring a new way of saving taxpayers money. "The goal would be to, per windmill, save $100,000 to $150,000 a year," said Mayor Jim Brainard (R-Carmel).
PORTLAND -- The Jay County Planning Commission is considering an ordinance governing the construction of electric generating wind turbines. At least two companies have expressed an interest in building wind farms in the county. The commission has scheduled a public hearing on the proposed ordinance for 8 p.m. May 10 in the auditorium of the Jay County Courthouse. If the planning commission approves the ordinance, it will then be sent to the Jay County Commissioners for final action.
EARL PARK -- Plans for a wind energy project in this part of Benton County have been scaled back somewhat, and are being handled by a new company. But spinning steel turbines should soon be dotting farmlands in Richland and York townships, using the wind to generate electricity. "Everything in terms of permits is in place. All of that is done," said Turner Hunt, project manager for Orion Energy Group, which is developing the wind energy project. "We're right now to the point of bringing on general contractors and sub-contractors. We're talking about making it a reality."
CAMBRIA, Wis. -- With empty storefronts on the main drag and corn stubble stretching for miles in the surrounding hills, this fading farm town seems like a natural stop for the ethanol express. Not to John Mueller, though. The 54-year-old stay-at-home dad has led a dogged battle to prevent a corn mill from building an ethanol plant up the hill from the village school. Concerned about air pollution, the water supply and the mill's environmental track record, Mr. Mueller and his group, Cambrians for Thoughtful Development, have blitzed the village's 800 residents with fliers, packed public meetings and set up a sophisticated Web site. The mill has fought back with its own publicity campaign and local corn farmers have taken to the streets in tractors to show support. Now, as the mill races to build the $70 million plant, the matter is headed to the federal courthouse in Madison, 40 miles southwest.
PORTLAND — A proposed wind farm could possibly generate a $175 million investment in Jay County within two years. Mike Brian, corporate communications manager for Indiana Michigan Power in Fort Wayne, said his company plans to have at least one and perhaps two or three test sites ready to go this spring to determine if there is enough wind power in the area to generate electricity. “We are setting up a couple of test sites in Jay and Randolph counties and perhaps one at the northern edge of Wayne County,” Brian said last week. “The technology on wind generators is improving so that sites not considered in the past are being considered now.” The test sites are expected to be operational this spring.
Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard is not blowing hot air when he talks about investigating a different way to generate electricity at the sewer plant. He is thinking about a windmill. They are not uncommon out west, but you do not see many windmills generating power in the Midwest. “The testing we’ll do will confirm whether it’s a cost effective measure or not,” said Mayor Brainard.