November 16, 2010

Residents raise concern over wind energy amendment; Decibel level would raise from 45 to 50

Aaron Leedy, WLFI, 15 November 2010

The sounds a wind turbine makes have some homeowners making sound of their own. An amendment to Tippecanoe County’s wind energy ordinance was on the commissioners’ agenda Monday morning. About 10 homeowners spoke out against the change.

“I’m begging you guys, please, just leave it where it is at. Lets not change the sound level. Lets not allow it to be any louder,” said Tippecanoe County resident Robert Brooks.

Under the amendment, decibel limits would change from 45 to 50 decibels. Commissioner David Byers said one company, Invenergy, requested a decibel level of 55, but 50 was settled on. Byers called the amendment is a “win-win” for everyone.

“As we’ve said in the beginning, we’ll tweak this. We’ve added distance to set-backs. We’ve added it to where the turbine companies have to really measure,” said Byers.

Invenergy Development Manager Greg Leuchtmann said the change makes it a “practical” and “organized” ordinance.

“With the 50 decibel limit, it is actually more restrictive than what is currently out there for agricultural activities which is 55 decibels,” said Leuchtmann.

Homeowners, however, still aren’t satisfied.

“I’m not happy with it. I’m not happy that they re-writing the ordinance. They were fine with it before, so I don’t know what the problem is,” said upset homeowner Don Thelen.

“Regardless of how short that set-back is, you’ve got that 45, and now that’s moving up and I have a real concern about that,” said Romney resident Kevin Nicoson.

Currently Tippecanoe County has not hired a consultant regarding the noise level wind turbines make, an idea a homeowner brought to the commissioners Monday morning.

“It is an idea that came up. It’s one we talked briefly about this morning and maybe something we’ll talk more about between now and the second reading,” said Byers.

Byers said the turbine companies are in the process of drawing maps to decide where to place the turbines in Tippecanoe County.

The amendment to the wind energy ordinance passed on first reading. It will be on the agenda at the December 6th meeting for final approval.

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