MUNCIE – The Delaware-Muncie Metropolitan Plan Commission expects opposition to wind farms when it conducts a public hearing tonight on proposed wind farm regulations.
But indications are the opposition is not organized or very strong.
There are no petitions. And only one letter has been filed with the commission by a wind farm opponent, David Meranda, a retired auto engineer who has lived near DeSoto his entire life.
The commission will conduct a hearing at 6:30 p.m. today in the county building on a zoning amendment to allow wind farms in farming zones and to establish regulatory standards.
Meranda declined comment, calling himself a “low-profile guy.” But in his letter, he wrote that wind farms degrade the beauty of rural areas; decrease residential property values; cause shadow flicker; make noise; interfere with television and radio reception; attract lightning strikes; threaten flying wildlife; cause light pollution at night; and cause headaches, seizures, hearing problems and sleeplessness.
Plan commission staff reported Wednesday that they had fielded some telephone calls from concerned citizens who didn’t understand the purpose of the public hearing, thinking that it pertained to a proposed wind farm, rather than overall wind farm regulations. A representative of one residential subdivision also has raised concerns to the staff.
The proposed zoning amendment sets out requirements for wind farms including financial assurance, building permits, road maintenance and repair during construction, tower and blade color (white, gray or other unobtrusive color), noise and vibration, lighting and setbacks.
Wind farm towers would have to set back at least 1,000 feet from a residence and at least 2,000 feet from a subdivision, town or city under the ordinance.
The regulations are being proposed after E.ON Climate & Renewables North America expressed interest in developing a wind farm in eastern Delaware County. E.ON already has built the Wildcat 1 Wind Farm in neighboring Madison and Tipton counties.
Some counties have welcomed wind farms because of the property taxes and land owner royalties that are generated.
Other benefits of wind farms include construction jobs, operations jobs (eight to 12 in the case of Wildcat 1), compatibility with crop production, displacement of fossil fuel generation, and avoiding the release of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide, the leading cause of acid rain.
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