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Jefferson wind vote coming June 26

Jefferson Township Trustees put off a vote Saturday regarding the fate of a citizen- initiated zoning amendment that would restrict the placement of wind turbines on private land.

Trustee Tim Tillman said there is some room for modifying the proposed amendment and he wanted more time.

“We’re learning more every day,” he said, “so I move that we table a vote until our regularly scheduled meeting on June 26.”

He said there was not enough notice time to change the meeting start from 4 p.m., but he assured about 50 people in attendance that the trustees would handle other business first and take up the amendment question late in the meeting.

The trustees are considering a recommendation from the Jefferson Township Zoning Commission to reject the amendment. To modify or adopt the zoning amendment, the trustees will have to vote unanimously.

A committee of the Logan-Union-Champaign Regional Planning Commission has said the amendment should be rejected because it is too restrictive and effectively bans wind turbines.

Logan County Prosecutor Gerald Heaton has said and he reiterated Saturday he was asked by the LUC committee if it is unconstitutional to pass zoning laws with intent to ban development such as industrial wind turbines.

He has not said whether or not he believes the citizen-initiative amendment bans wind turbines.

He attended Saturday’s meeting and told the trustees regardless of their decision, the township could be sued over the issue.

“Anybody can sue,” he said. “I’m sure somebody will challenge it whichever way you go. It’s a new thing.”

The trustees allowed citizens to speak for more than an hour.

Proponents of the amendment said the township needs something to protect the citizenry. Backers of wind farms said zoning isn’t a bad idea, but the proposed amendment is too restrictive.

“This is simply a starting point,” said the amendment’s author, Terrence Stolly. “There have been no alternatives or suggestions presented since we brought our petition to you.”

“If you have to adopt something,” said turbine supporter Connie Smith, “then adopt Monroe Township’s zoning amendment.”

By Joel E. Mast
Staff Writer

Bellefontaine Examiner

18 June 2007