PRINCETON – Members of the Princeton City Council are urging the Bureau County Board to use caution before placing any moratorium on future wind farms in Bureau County.
At this week’s meeting, Princeton City Commissioner Terry Madsen said he’s been concerned about what he’s heard about the county board considering passing a moratorium on future wind farm construction. There’s a lot of income generated from wind farms to the city of Princeton, for employees and businesses, he said.
Madsen encouraged the county board to take it slow and make sure it gathers all necessary information before making any decision concerning the future of wind farms in the county. Madsen also recommended the city council direct Mayor Keith Cain, who was absent from Monday’s meeting due to illness, to contact Bureau County Board Chairman Dale Anderson to express the council’s concerns.
After Madsen’s comments, Mayor pro tem Bob Warren agreed, saying he was not sure a moratorium against wind farms was the right way to go. The wind farms bring a lot of dollars into the county.
When contacted Thursday, Cain said he will contact the county board chairman to express his concerns and the council’s concerns about the possible moratorium. The local wind farms have a significant financial impact on the city of Princeton and the entire county, a bigger impact than some people may realize, he said.
Especially considering the way the current economy is struggling and with the continuing problem of job losses, the county needs to take advantage of opportunities to bring jobs and revenue into the area, Cain said.
Though he does realize there have been some people with concerns, most recently with the Big Sky wind farm near Ohio, he said the county board needs to look at the whole picture, at the advantages as well as any disadvantages to wind farms.
If the issue is really a problem with setback requirements, then that is a zoning issue, not a moratorium issue, he said.
As reported earlier in the Bureau County Republican, the moratorium issue came up at the county board’s Dec. 14 meeting after the board heard complaints from Ohio residents Todd and Deb Anderson about the nearby Big Sky wind farm and problems the Andersons said they are having as a result of the wind farm, such as poor television reception and shadow flickering in their house.
At that time, county board member Marc Wilt recommended the county do a total overhaul of its zoning ordinances, especially in the area dealing with wind farms. The ordinances have failed to protect the residents of the county. Other counties have issued moratoriums and stopped issuing permits to wind farms, Wilt said.
Board member Marshann Entwhistle suggested prohibiting future wind farm development in Bureau County until the county can solve the various problems and study the impact of wind farms in Bureau County.
After further discussion, the county board sent the issue of ordinances and wind farms to the county Zoning Committee for review and discussion.
On Tuesday, Zoning Officer Kris Donarski said the county Zoning Committee did meet Monday but did not make any decision as far as making a recommendation for the county board to place a moratorium on future wind farm development in the Bureau County.
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