Wind farm rules get first OK
More interested parties step forward to offer input
PLYMOUTH — Another wind farm industry is knocking on Marshall County’s door.
And with wind farm interests popping up in the county every month, County Plan Commission President Deb Griewank told county commissioners the urgency is increasing to get zoning rules on the books.
After spending about three years coming up with a zoning amendment for Wind Energy Conversion Systems, commissioners approved new development standards on first reading, but might have further tweaking by the final reading.
Weissman said one viewpoint is that people look at it as a taking of land when they are not able to build a dwelling unit within 1,000 feet of an existing wind system.
Plan director Ralph Booker said a 1,000-foot setback from the property line is in place for a buffer for L1 and T1 residential zoning districts and variances can be issued by the BZA on a piece by piece option.
However, placing the 1,000-foot setback on agricultural property lines, which is where the turbines would be built, would not leave enough space to build wind farms in the county, he said.
Weissman also said potential wind farms could look at the financial assurance for decommissioning a turbine and be steered away to a more competitive market.
He said wind farms make written agreements with counties to repair roads and damages caused during both construction and decomissioning.
Booker said the ordinance states other forms of security can be made acceptable to the county.
Weissman’s presentation at the June 21 public hearing will be during the second reading of the ordinance amendment.
He said there are basically two groups dissatisfied with wind farms. One is small farm owners who say it disrupts the quality of life by loss of ag view. The other is the large farm owner who wants to sell at top dollar but thinks it will depreciate land value.
Marshall County Commissioner Jack Roose said just 60 to 70 years ago, farmers were still using horses.
“The face of agriculture keeps changing,” he said. “Now wind turbines may be just one more thing you’ll have to put up with in your backyard for the next 30 years.”
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