Wind farm opponents aren’t the only ones who have been preparing a petition. Iberdrola project manager Krista Gordon submitted a petition of 1,439 signatures to the Ellis County Clerk’s office Monday morning.
While this petition does not have any legal standing like the protest petition does, the document was prepared to make a statement, Gordon said.
“We wanted to send a strong message out to the county that the wind project is a very popular thing, and its support is certainly not limited to the landowners and people who will directly benefit financially,” Gordon said. “It’s broad-based within the community.”
Most of the signatures were collected by mail. A group called Homeowners Supporting the Hays Wind Project sent out about 10,000 postage-paid surveys about a month ago. The official list of registered voters in Ellis County was obtained from Topeka and was used to address the mail, she said.
Additional signatures were obtained at a public presentation the company hosted at Fox Pavilion on May 18 and online at the Web site www.hayswind.com.
Of the people who have endorsed statements of support, 1,155 live in Hays, 126 live in Ellis and 90 reside in Victoria.
An additional 33 signatures were collected from people in other Ellis County communities, and 35 more were signed by people who reside outside the county or at an unknown address.
Signatures still are being collected, Gordon said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the number of positive responses had increased to 1,467. Gordon said she plans to keep collecting, and will update the records on file with the county clerk periodically.
The document provided to commissioners states Gordon also received 51 responses against the proposed wind project.
The public mailing has a return rate of about 20 percent – 10 percent is typical, Gordon said.
“10 percent is pretty normal,” she said. “We were pleased to shoot well over that.”
She also plans to submit a copy to the Ellis County Planning and Zoning Commission for its records, she said.
Gordon said she had planned to present the petition to county commissioners in person, but was told the time for public comment had elapsed.
However, she hopes county commissioners will take the statement of support into consideration, she said.
“It shows that there is a local base of support. We wanted to show that the county commissioners and planning commissioners who support the project will have the support of Ellis County,” Gordon said. “It’s not like they need to go out on a limb to support the project. This is something the county wants.”
By Kaley Lyon
20 June 2007
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