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Prairie Breeze moving forward; Company files for modifications to conditions  

Credit:  By Ken de la Bastide, Tribune enterprise editor | Kokomo Tribune | May 27, 2013 | kokomotribune.com ~~

Tipton – The company planning to construct a controversial wind farm in northwestern Tipton County has filed to modify restrictions placed on the development.

Juwi Wind hopes to reduce the setback established by Tipton County’s Board of Zoning Appeals, but has complied with the board’s request for a property value guarantee.

Officials with juwi Wind Thursday filed the necessary paperwork with the Tipton County Plan Commission to modify the requirements.

The BZA in March approved a conditional use permit for the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm in Liberty and Jefferson townships, west of Sharpsville.

The developer proposed a $300 million investment to install up to 94 wind turbines that will generate 150 megawatts of electricity.

BZA members voted 3-2 to require a 1,500-foot setback from the nearest wind turbine to the property line of surrounding landowners. It also required development of a property value guarantee.

“The Board of Zoning Appeals was clear in its direction to juwi Wind when it approved the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm,” Matt Heck, project manager, said Thursday. “We have provided language that incorporates a property value protection plan and adopts setback conditions that directly respond to the comments at the public hearing.”

In the filing, juwi Wind is asking for a modification to the setback requirement to be no more than 1,400 feet from the property line of a non-participating property owner and 1,250 from the property line of a participating property owner.

The number of turbines will be reduced to 79. The company will seek a waiver for nine more from a participating property owner.

The company also submitted a property value guarantee plan that will cover residential property within three-quarters of a mile of a wind turbine and involve only the first sale after Prairie Breeze goes into operation.

The company will send a notice to nearby property owners before an improvement location permit is requested so they may sign up for the property value guarantee program.

The plan will pay between 100 percent and 115 percent of the appraised value and juwi Wind can make an offer to purchase the property. The plan sets juwi wind’s total liability for the property value guarantee at $1 million.

Values will be determined by an appraisal or the average of more than one appraisal and the guarantee only covers a difference greater than 10 percent between the value and a sale price.

In their submittal to the BZA, the company said there is only one county in the country that has a property value guarantee and remarks the condition is an unusual request.

The company said it is committed to bringing the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm to Tipton County so developed the plan.

“The property value protection plan represents a thorough consideration of all regulations, stakeholders, fact-based community inputs and business factors to maintain the development of a viable wind energy project in Tipton County, a project that continues to have support,” Heck said. “The request for modifications strikes a balance allowing the project to move forward, while responding to the BZA and citizens’ input and feedback.”

Jeff Hoover, with Tipton County Citizens for Responsible Development, said the condition modifications submitted by juwi Wind will be reviewed over the weekend.

“We will decide on a course of action,” he said. “We hope the BZA will maintain the 1,500-foot setback.”

The BZA will meet within the next two weeks to determine the process reviewing the modification and to set a date and time for a public hearing, Steve Edson, Tipton County planning director said.

Source:  By Ken de la Bastide, Tribune enterprise editor | Kokomo Tribune | May 27, 2013 | kokomotribune.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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