KALIDA – Plans by Kalida Manufacturing to build two wind turbines adjacent to its facility met with strong opposition Tuesday night.
During a Union Township trustees meeting Tuesday evening, more than 60 area residents expressed their strong vocal opposition to KMI’s plans to purchase 55 acres adjacent to their property and install two wind towers on the property.
KMI plant manager Rick Esch said KMI is proposing purchasing the land to install two company-owned 1.5 megawatt wind turbine generators that would provide about two-thirds of the company’s annual electric usage. He said the project would allow the company to offset a projected 20-year average of $1.6 million per year in costs.
Esch was at the township meeting seeking the trustees’ approval on a pre-annexation agreement between the village and township. The village has already signed the pre-annexation agreement and approved the first reading on a zoning ordinance that would allow the wind turbines within the village.
Union Township Trustee Dan Ellerbrock said if the trustees do not sign the agreement they forfeit receiving the tax on that property. If they sign the pre-annexation agreement they would be guaranteed the same amount of taxation collection for the next 40 years.
“We don’t care about the tax money,” several residents told the trustees. Numerous comments were made about the noise levels that turbines will produce and the negative impact it would have on land values.
Ken Basinger said he has visited other wind turbines and heard the noise levels.
“It would keep me awake at night,” he said.
Michelle Doepker said the church steeple should be the focal point for the community “not wind turbines.
Several residents stated their concerns because of what they felt was the close proximity of the wind turbines to their households.
“This is an opportunity for KMI to cut a big chunk of their expense,” Esch said.
He said this type of plan was necessary to stay competitive with other countries.
“Several residents said they agreed that KMI had been a good neighbor, but felt this addition would not be a good step. KMI has been in Kalida for 15 years and eight expansions during that time. Esch said the company employs 370 full- and part-time employees.
“We are unhappy you didn’t discuss it with us first,” one resident said.
Esch said he was doing the process according to legal steps.
The trustees decided to table the matter, but indicated they were against the project.
The Village Council will meet Monday to act on the second reading of the zoning variance.
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