05/21/13 The possibility of commercial wind systems locating in Marshall County is not just a thought in the wind. Monday morning the commissioners unanimously approved an ordinance that will ban the structures in the county.
For nearly an hour the commissioners conducted a public hearing and allowed those in attendance to present new information for their consideration. Dennis Thornton from Bremen said, “I strongly encourage banning commercial wind turbines in Marshall County due to our high population density and known factual, not perceived, negative aspects and dangers of wind turbines.”
The attorney hired to represent the Concerned Property Owners of Marshall County, Steve Snyder handed-out an editorial article from the Washington Times which indicated wind farms don’t work economically. He said the ban ordinance would eliminate questions on setbacks, health affects, safety issues, decommissions, and esthetics.
In total 9 individuals spoke in favor of the ban ordinance including two people from the Whitley County Concerned Citizens. Joan Knull said there is organized opposition to commercial wind systems in eight counties in the state and farmer Stanley Crum said when he was approached with a lease for his farm “it was remarkable the right they take away from landowners.” He said, “I speak for a group (referring to farmers) who is silent because they don’t want to take the hassle.”
Two in attendance spoke for commercial wind turbines. Bob Yoder from the Purdue Cooperative Extension Office said, “I’m a strong advocate of the dead ordinance that would allow commercial wind systems as a special use.” He suggested that if safety is one of their main concerns then reducing the speed limit on county roadways to 35 mph would have a higher effect on more citizens.
The second speaker in favor was John Childs, Union Township President of Farm Bureau. He said, “Farm Bureau’s position is in favor of wind technology.” He said the ban doesn’t look good to technology companies looking to locate in the area. Childs suggested taking them on a “case by case” request.
The County Commissioners had the final decision and each one spoke. Newest commissioner, Deb Griewank thanked everyone for their opinion. She said, “We are not here to take rights away but to protect everyone.
Commissioner Jack Roose said, “There certainly is a lot of passion on both sides of the issue.” He also mentioned not liking that commercial wind systems are subsidized and said, “Subsidies go against my grain.”
President of the Commissioners, Kevin Overmyer, a farmer in Burr Oak said he too had seen a lease for the large wind turbines and, “as property owners you lose all your rights.” He also doesn’t like subsidies and said in 10 to 15 years new technology may come along and the ordinance would be able to be changed.
The Marshall County Commissioners suspended the rules and pass the ordinance on all three readings which resulted in a standing ovation from the majority of crowd gathered for the public hearing.