KALIDA – After a first reading on a rewritten zoning ordinance to allow wind turbines in industrial areas of Kalida failed, the consensus of Village Council members was to consider putting the contentious issue up for special election.
More than 100 residents filled the council chambers Monday night, the majority against the proposed installation of two wind turbines by Kalida Manufacturing Industries on land they would like annexed into the village.
Union township resident Don Selhorst and Kalida resident Dan Lucke represented those opposing the wind turbines. The two men gave a slide show presentation explaining concerns residents have about the installation of the wind turbines.
Selhorst said while he understands the need for KMI to remain competitive in a global market, he has concerns about the close proximity of these proposed turbines to residential areas.
“Most of the issues that have been raised about wind turbines, such as noise, shadow flicker, and health concerns, come from residents living 1 mile to 1.5 miles from a wind turbine,” Selhorst said.
Lucke said 90 percent of the residents living in Kalida are within 1.25 miles of the proposed turbines.
Mayor Alan Gerdeman said in a statement he felt the pros of having the wind turbines installed outweighed the cons. He spoke of the problems that occur when companies quit making profits and shut down.
“Economic development is the lifeblood of villages,” he said.
Representatives from BK Tools also gave their support to the wind turbines and said everyone in the community, including their business, is affected by KMI.
Councilman Mark Fortman said a village is about the people.
“I have heard people both for and against this proposal,” he said. “I think it should be up the people of the village.”
KMI manager Rick Esch said he did not know if the project could be done if it is delayed. The current tax credit for the wind turbines expires at the end of 2012. To receive this tax credit the wind turbines have to be installed and operational.
Councilman Robert Buss voted yes on the first reading of the zoning ordinance, but stipulated he was only voting yes to keep the project moving while giving everyone more time to research wind turbines.
The final vote was 3 to 2 against with Councilors Buss and Dick Schulte voting in favor of the ordinance, Jason Bockrath, Fortman, and Glen Recker opposing it, and Councilman Richard Bockrath abstaining.
Fiscal Officer Rita Schroeder said she would meet with the Board of Elections to find out the cost to place this issue in a special election.
Gerdeman said Village Council would then have to decide whether to proceed with a special election.
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