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Tipton to consider wind farm moratorium; Plan commission to consider measure

The Tipton Plan Commission could be the next local governmental unit to consider imposing a moratorium on future wind farm development.

The Plan Commission is expected to consider a recommendation to place a moratorium on any wind farms within the two-mile zoning jurisdiction around the city limits at its meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Tipton County Courthouse.

If approved the moratorium recommendation would have to be considered for adoption by the Tipton City Council.

Steve Edson, planning director, said several dates regarding the length of a moratorium have been considered, but a determination will be made by the members of the Plan Commission.

Tipton County currently has a moratorium on any new wind farm developments in place until Oct. 1, or the county’s wind farm ordinance is amended.

Last Monday the Howard County Commissioners voted to enact a county-wide moratorium on any further wind farms in the county, with the exception of the already approved E.ON Climate & Renewable project in eastern Howard County.

The only wind farm in operation is the Wildcat Wind Farm developed by E.ON in eastern Tipton, Grant and northern Madison counties. It became operational in December.

The Howard County moratorium doesn’t include E.ON’s plans to expand the Wildcat Wind Farm into the county during phases two and three of the development.

The Howard County commissioners did amend the economic development agreement with E.ON to change the setback requirements to 1,500 feet for non-participating property owners and to 1,250 feet for participating property owners, shield the red warning lights on the turbine towers, noise levels and a payback of $750,000 over the ten year tax abatement granted by the county.

The Tipton County moratorium didn’t include the proposed Prairie Breeze Wind farm being proposed by juwi Wind in the northwestern portion of the county.

The Tipton County Board of Zoning Appeals did approve a conditional use permit for the project but added conditions including a 1,500 foot setback and a property value guarantee from the company.

The company has filed a request for modifications to the conditional use permit and a hearing before the BZA has not been set.

The modifications request would change the setback to 1,400 feet from a residence and 750 feet from the property line of non-participating property owners and 1,250 feet from the residence of participating property owners.

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

Part of the submitted plan puts the property value at between 100 percent and 115 percent and juwi Wind can make an offer to purchase the property.

The total amount in the property value guarantee that juwi would be required to spend is $1 million.

The value will be based on an appraisal or the average of more than one appraisal and the guarantee only covers changes greater than 10 percent between the value and a sale price.