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Ford county board member seeks review of zoning rules

Ford County Board member Gene May does not want a 265-foot-tall wind turbine towering over his home on Paxton’s eastern edge, and he said the county board should consider reviewing its wind-farm zoning ordinance to determine if changes need to be made to prevent that.

“You walk out into your backyard and you see it and you hear it and it’s right there towering over your house,” May said. “I don’t want someone to put one 1,000 feet directly east of my home … but they could put it to the south a little bit out in the open where it wouldn’t affect anybody.”

May said he would ask the board at Monday’s meeting to review the wind-farm ordinance, which was adopted in March 2006 as an amendment to the county’s zoning ordinance.

“We were going to go through it to see if there’s anything we need to change to protect the people of Ford County,” May said, “like, for instance, if a farmer owns the ground and there’s someone who lives right next to that piece of ground that doesn’t farm. We just don’t want one sitting too close to someone who lives out there and doesn’t farm … because they’re going to have to live with it.”

May plans to distribute copies of the Ford County zoning ordinance to other board members Monday, and a subsequent meeting will be set.

He also welcomes Ford County residents interested in the zoning laws to contact him at 379-3309 and voice their concerns.

Under the county’s existing wind-farm ordinance, towers must be set back at least 1,000 feet from any “primary structure” and towers must be set back 1,500 feet from the boundaries of any municipality. Also, towers must be set back a distance reflecting at least the height of the tower hub from adjacent property lines unless waived in writing by the affected owners. There are also setback requirements for power lines and public roads. The tips of the turbines cannot exceed a height of 500 feet.

By Will Brumleve

The News-Gazette

4 June 2008