Tippecanoe (Tipp.) County compromises on the amount of time wind farms will have to build turbines.
Tippecanoe County’s zoning ordinance states a special exception granted for wind farms is void if at least one turbine is not up and producing power within one year. Invenergy, a company proposing a wind farm in southwest Tippecanoe, wanted to change the time frame to two years. Before the Area Plan Commission voted on the change, six people who will live near the proposed 134 turbines spoke against allowing extra time.
“Even their best case scenario, they don’t need two years,” said Julie Peretin.
Invenergy’s business manager argued the extra year was necessary because wind farms often take up to 16 months to build. Area Plan Commissioner David Byers amended the ordinance and reduced the time frame from two years to 18 months. The other Area Plan commissioners agreed with the six month extension and voted 8 to 2 for the change.
“That gives them the chance to truly step up the plate,” said Byers.
It was a compromise both sides said they weren’t thrilled with but could live with. Invenergy’s business manager did not want to speak with NewsChannel 18 on camera, but says the extra time is still enough to continue with the Tippecanoe County project. Neighbors to the proposed wind farm said the compromise is a small victory.
“It’s better but obviously not our favorite outcome, which would have been to deny it completely,” said Robert Brooks who will live near the proposed turbines.
People living next to the wind farm said it’s not the time frame that is the only issue, but that the wind farm companies haven’t taken time to work with those who will be most affected by the turbines.
The county commissioners, cities and towns of Tippecanoe County must now approve the extra six months for wind farms to be built.
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