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Magnolia adopts ordinance regulating wind turbines

By a 3-0 vote, the Magnolia Town Board added an ordinance regulating the construction of wind turbines to the books.

The vote came on the heels of a heated public hearing at the same meeting, where nearly a dozen Magnolia residents voiced their support or concern for the ordinance.

The ordinance prohibits building wind turbines within a half-mile of a building or 1,000 feet of a property line. A provision allows homeowners to add a turbine as an easement to the property if they want a turbine within the half-mile.

“First, I’m sorry that our town board displays a lack of patriotism by having the meeting on the eve of Independence Day,” resident Gordy Andrew said. “However, the board needs to evaluate their capability to implement and enforce the town ordinance.”

Comments were across the board. Most supported an ordinance, but the room was split as to when the board should adopt an ordinance and whether or not it was defensible in court.

Some felt if the board voted Thursday as it did, it would have been in haste.

“I think maybe we’re jumping the gun on this ordinance,” said Ed Larson, owner of Larson Acres. “We’re using a lot of the town of Union’s work. They haven’t adopted it yet; they’re still changing it. I suggest we do the same.”

Other Magnolia residents disagreed. Some even cited historical reasons why the board should have acted Thursday.

“We’re on the eve of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Our founding fathers didn’t wait for England to OK that; they just went ahead and did it,” resident Jeff Mitchell said. “I think we shouldn’t wait either,” making reference to comments about waiting for Union Township to enact its wind turbine ordinance.

Town board member Kurt Bartlett said he felt the ordinance was sound and would hold up in court, according to reports from the town’s attorney.

“I don’t know if waiting three or four months will change everything,” Bartlett said. “We can always amend it, and I like the way it stands.”

A representative from EcoEnergy, the alternative energy group hoping to build turbines in the town, said it will be at least a year before any turbines are built.

By Ryan Dostalek

GazetteXtra

4 July 2008