A wind energy company with plans for Tippecanoe County is asking the county to allow additional time for complex construction projects in the county’s zoning rules.
But it will be at least one more month before any changes are recommended to the special exception section of Tippecanoe County’s Unified Zoning Ordinance.
Under the current rules, a special exception granted for a specific use expires one year after it has been authorized – if the use has not been established.
The ordinance committee of the Tippecanoe County Area Plan Commission is considering a request to alter that one-year rule for a specific project.
Invenergy Wind LLC of Chicago is seeking to change the requirement to a three-year window for a 133-turbine wind farm project the company is planning in southwestern Tippecanoe County.
“The reason for the extension is related to the amount of detail and work, design and planning,” Greg Leuchtmann, development manager for the Invenergy project, told the ordinance committee this afternoon. “This is about a special exception for zoning purposes, not a building permit.”
Approximately 20 people attended the meeting, and most were opposed to altering the special exception one-year requirement.
Their complaints included the lack of an economic development plan for the project, slowing the development of roads to serve the wind turbines and the extension allowing the work to be drawn out, which could cause additional disruptions.
“It does not take 12 to 18 months to get 130 turbines up,” said Kay Pairitz of West Point.
“Any time we’re granting developers more rights, we’re taking away the rights of others,” said Tim Strueh, a Linden resident. “We don’t have protection from the noise. We lose the right to health and safety.”
The APC ordinance committee voted today to continue consideration of the special exception request to their meeting May 4.
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