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Tipton County wind farm faces opposition

Tipton County officials have decided not to accept any new applications for wind farm construction until after a public hearing scheduled for April 18.

The county’s plan commission will hear testimony from the community to decide whether a moratorium should be enacted while county zoning laws are examined.

The Prairie Breeze Wind Farm was proposed in January by Juwi Wind, but many local residents are concerned turbines pose a risk to public welfare.

Kirsten Leonard, secretary of the group Tipton County Citizens for Responsible Development, says her home will be adversely affected by the farm, even though she isn’t allowing turbine construction on her property.

“I’ve looked at the development plans Juwi proposed. Within a one mile radius of my home, there would be 12, 50 story tall industrial wind turbines. That’s like having 50 50-story factories within a mile of one’s home.”

Residents are concerned that the turbines will be too loud, especially at night. But they’re more concerned about what they won’t hear. Turbines allegedly emit low frequency noise – a type of inaudible sound waves that may affect the body.

Nancy Nelson, a clinical associate professor of audiology at the Indiana University Department of Speech and Hearing, says there is not enough data to suggest low frequency noise poses a threat to humans.

“From what I can gather the results on whether or not there is some other health effect are pretty mixed,” she says. “There doesn’t seem to be definitive information about whether there is any physiologic danger that can be created by these sounds, but it is pretty clear that it could interrupt sleep patterns.”

Residents are also concerned noise and towering turbines will lower property values. Tipton County currently requires turbines to be at least 1000 feet from a residence, but that distance may change.