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Wind: Ordinance to become law

COLUMBIA CITY – After some confusion and much discussion, the proposed Wind Energy Ordinance is currently on its way to become law July 19, with the changes to the setbacks (2,640 feet) included.
David Sewell, with the Columbia City/Whitley County Joint Planning and Building Department, came to the Whitley County Board of Commissioners meeting Monday to clear up the results of the last plan commission meeting held in June.
At the meeting, the Whitley County Plan Commission was presented with the county commissioners’ amendments to the proposed Wind Energy Ordinance, and a motion was made to approve the changes with four plan commission members voting for the approval, four against and one abstention.
After the plan commission meeting, Sewell said confusion existed as to whether this was a rejection of the amended changes, in which case the proposed ordinance would have come back to the county commissioners for another vote.
Sewell told the county commissioners the vote was determined by the county attorney and the plan commission’s attorney to be a “failure to act” since there was no majority to carry the motion.
With no action taken, Sewell informed the county commissioners they do not have to vote again.
Tuesday, County Commissioner Don Amber clarified what this means to the county council.
“Therefore, the 45 day clock that started when the commissioners amended, it continues to run, and no action on the commissioners part is necessary, and on July 19, the Whitley County Wind Ordinance will become law,” said Amber. “It will become law with the amendment from the commissioners.”
The county commissioners said the change was made to provide additional safety and health protection.
“There was some confusing information with regard to the wind ordinance but I think it’s now probably on it’s way to being finished,” said Amber.
Amber said no challenges that would stop the ordinance from becoming law have been made at this point.