Half a dozen residents raised concerns with the impact windmills might have on their health, property values and economic development, but the common theme Monday night was that they didn’t want to have to look at them.
Public comments made during a planning commission meeting don’t necessarily indicate how the majority of Piedmont residents feel, but Monday was the first unified expression from the community concerning a proposed wind farm in the area – and it wasn’t positive.
“When we moved out here, quiet was the main thing and the open wide view of Piedmont,” said Melissa Ashford, a comment that brought applause from the standing-room only crowd of over 40.
Monday’s planning commission meeting was originally scheduled to include a public hearing on a proposed windmill ordinance but the public hearing was moved back a month since commissioners and city officials are still finalizing the ordinance. But that didn’t stop citizens from speaking out against a proposed wind farm that could place as many as 25 wind turbines in west Piedmont.
“If this happens I will sell (my home),” said Pam Suttles, which brought even more applause from the audience. “Property values will fall.”
Eight residents addressed the planning commission and not one spoke in favor of windmills. Some residents said they had recently rebuilt their home following the 2011 tornado and a potential wind farm would make their choice to stay a mistake.
Kent Daugherty, a project manager for Virginia-based Apex, was the last to speak to the commission and he attempted to respond to some of the statements made by residents. His comments were met with some shouts as the audience continued to express its displeasure with windmills.
Dougherty said independent studies showed that property values are not impacted by windmills and that the wind turbine proposed for Piedmont would be placed in rural areas.
Dougherty also said his company was not applying for a permit, but are just a business that would like to come to Piedmont.
“Folks think we are a big giant business coming in to try and take over Piedmont,” Dougherty said.” It is up to the city if they want the business to be here or not. It’s capitalism.”
Following the public comments, the planning commission went through a preliminary draft of a windmill ordinance, asking questions and making recommendations to City Attorney Mike Segler.
Check back with PiedmontDaily.com on Tuesday for more analysis and coverage from Monday’s meeting.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding