TIPTON – The Tipton city Plan Commission is recommending the city council impose a moratorium on any wind farm development around the city until the end of 2014.
The Plan Commission on Tuesday voted unanimously to recommend a moratorium be put in place until Dec. 31, 2014 so that the city’s wind farm ordinance can be reviewed and possibly amended.
If approved by the Tipton City Council the moratorium would cover the two-mile zoning jurisdiction of the city.
Wyatt Johnson, president of the plan commission, said the resolution that was approved and forwarded to the city council was prepared by Steve Edson, director of the Planning Department and attorney David L. Smith. He said it was reviewed by Tipton Mayor Don Havens and city attorney Matthew Quigley.
Johnson said as first proposed the moratorium would have expired on June 30, 2014, but it was determined that was too short a period of time.
He said recommendations to extend the moratorium through Dec. 31, 2016 or Dec. 31, 2015 were too long.
“It is a legislative action,” Smith said. “Right now there is a valid ordinance subject to conditions on any wind energy development. The Plan Commission is now considering making changes.”
Smith said the length of the moratorium was determined so that there would be no pre-text that wind farm development around Tipton would be eliminated.
“This is a reasonable amount of time to make changes,” he said of the Dec. 31, 2014 date.
Smith said until the resolution establishing the moratorium is adopted by the city council; a company could file an application for a wind energy project.
Edson said the moratorium is meant to be a temporary measure until the wind energy ordinance is reviewed.
Phil Morgan, a member of the city council and the Plan Commission, asked if the council could make changes to the moratorium resolution.
Johnson said the council could choose to ignore the Plan Commission recommendation, change it or adopt it as presented.
Edson said before the Planning Department begins work on possible changes to the city’s wind energy ordinance, work would first be done on any potential changes to the county’s ordinance.
The Tipton County Commissioners have placed a moratorium on any new wind farm applications through Oct. 1 or until the county’s ordinance is amended. No work on amending the ordinance has started at the county level.
Immediately following the vote to recommend the moratorium resolution, Johnson asked Plan Commission members to begin reviewing the city’s wind energy ordinance.
He said a committee of Plan Commission members may need to be appointed to make a recommendation of proposed changes to the full commission.
Brian Key, a member of the Tipton County Citizens for Responsible Development, said the Plan Commission was discussing a possible 25- to 30-year commitment for a wind energy project.
“Can anyone predict the growth around Tipton over the next 25 years,” he said. “No one can predict future growth.”
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