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Paris Township settles on strict wind ordinance

RUTH – The Paris Township Board unanimously passed a zoning ordinance Tuesday.

Turbines must be 2,000 feet from non-participating property owners’ homes and three times the turbine height from non-participating property lines.

Participating property owners’ turbines must be 1,320 feet from homes and two times the height from property lines.

For comparison, the county zoning ordinance has a setback of 1,320 feet from non-participating property lines, and 1,000 feet from any inhabited structure within participating property lines.

In terms of sound for Paris, there will be an allowance of 35 decibels during the day and 30 at night for non-leased property, and 40 during the day and 35 at night for leased property.

The county allows for 45 decibels on non-participating properties and 50 on participating ones.

Prior to the vote, Chairman Ron Smalley asked board members for their individual thoughts.

Trustee Angela Guza said she was content with the ordinance.

“It’s a living, breathing document,” Guza said, referencing the ability to change the document down the road if necessary. “I think everyone has looked it over and addressed the issues that needed to be addressed.”

Clerk Randy Weber said there had been 48 meetings devoted specifically to developing the ordinance over the past few years.

“The zoning board has worked a long time on this – a long time on this. … I’m confident that … this is good,” Weber said.

Treasurer Laurie Pionk also applauded the job that planners had done in coming up with the zoning ordinance.

“… You’re not going to come up with an exact match for every single person in this township,” Pionk said. “It’s not going to happen. I think they did a good job taking on all the issues. We’ve had several issues to look at in this township, not one or two. I want to commend them. I think they did a really great job.”

Pionk went on to say that she hoped to see wind turbine development in the township.

While the board unanimously voted in favor of the ordinance, reaction from the audience was mixed as several people in favor of wind development thought the ordinance was too restrictive.

Donna Glinecki said she was disappointed with how it turned out.

“… The languages was still pretty restrictive,” Glinecki said, before going on to speak about lost potential income for local schools and other entities. “Many neighboring communities have benefitted. Residents have benefited. People have new sheds and houses. I’m disappointed that it will be pretty restrictive for us to get to that point. The landscape has changed in three directions from our township. The only thing that hasn’t changed is our ability to move forward. …”

Glinecki and several other residents also mentioned that they wished the matter had come to a public vote.

The crowd was about split though, as several residents spoke in favor of the board’s decision.

Marvin Hill said the 2,000-foot setback found the right balance for people in favor and opposed to wind energy.

“It gives the opportunity to have a wind turbine still put in, but it gives an opportunity to the people who don’t care to have them close to them … the rights not to have them next door to them or right next to them,” Hill said. “They really did a good job of protecting both sides. … I compliment all the work you’ve done and the decision that you have made.”