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Board to set Prairie Breeze ground rules; Company seeking modifications to Wind Farm permit

TIPTON – The Tipton County Board of Zoning Appeals is expected to establish the ground rules for request from juwi Wind to modify the conditions for the proposed Prairie Breeze Wind Farm.

Steve Edson, director of the Tipton County Planning Department, said the BZA will meet next Wednesday at the Tipton County 4H Fairgrounds at 7 p.m. to establish the parameters to consider juwi’s requested modifications.

Presentations concerning the requested modifications can be expected from opponents and supporters of the proposed wind farm and from juwi Wind.

The Prairie Breeze Wind Farm being proposed by juwi Wind is a $300 million development that would generate up to 150 megawatts of electricity through up to 94 wind turbines.

Earlier this year the BZA approved a conditional use permit for the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm in Liberty and Prairie townships but included several conditions which included a 1,500 foot setback for the placement of wind turbines and a property value guarantee.

The conditional use permit was approved by the BZA after approximately eight hours of testimony for and against the proposed wind farm.

BZA members didn’t outline the specifics of the property value guarantee, leaving it up to juwi to submit a proposal.

The only county in the U.S. which has a guaranteed property value provision for the placement of a wind farm is in DeKalb County, Ill. The provision is in the event a property can’t sell their homes for the appraised value, the wind energy company will provide the difference between the sale price and the appraised value at closing.

Juwi Wind filed for the modifications of the conditions in April with the BZA.

The attorney for the Tipton County Citizens for Responsible Development contended that juwi missed the 30-day deadline to request changes in the conditions and the modifications should be heard in court. Juwi responded the BZA was the proper governmental entity to consider the modifications.

Tipton County Attorney John Brooke eventually decided the BZA should consider the requested modifications and the property value guarantee.

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.