A request to allow more time to begin construction of a wind farm project in Tippecanoe County was altered Wednesday, with the next step in the process to be taken in June.
Currently, under the county’s Unified Zoning Ordinance, a special exception granted for a specific use expires one year after authorization – if the use has not been established.
Invenergy Wind LLC of Chicago had asked for a three-year special exception to apply to a 133-turbine wind farm project the company is planning to build in southwestern Tippecanoe County.
A dozen people opposed to the request presented their objections at Wednesday’s meeting of the APC Ordinance Committee.
They argued the extension has the potential to infringe on their rights, slow work on roads to the wind turbines and cause other disruptions.
“It’s not the county’s problem if a giant project can’t go within the current timeline,” said Julie Peretin.
“Here’s a biggie. They could pause the project,” said Jim Pairitz, a West Point resident. “It could be years instead of months. Every concession given to the developer takes away from me.”
The ordinance committee voted 6 to 1 to reduce the wind farm special exception request from three years to 24 months, and send it to the APC, which will make a recommendation to the county commissioners.
“I thought since the first time we talked about this that three years was a long, long time,” said committee member Tim Shriner. “I think the two years adequately protects nonparticipating landowners.”
Greg Leuchtmann, development manager with Invenergy, said the company can accept the proposed change for wind farm special exceptions.
“We’re willing to compromise and come up with something that satisfies both sides,” Leuchtmann said. “With the 24-month limit, that’s a great way to help facilitate that.”
The Area Plan Commission will consider amending the zoning ordinance during its meeting at 7 p.m. June 15.
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