The BZA decision on Wednesday to maintain the setback of 1,500 feet from property lines was a great step in protecting the interests of Tipton County citizens. It also provides the minimum basis for any future consideration of ordinance changes relating to industrial wind turbines.
Making decisions based on principle, the Tipton BZA has now twice communicated that the property rights of homeowners trump the special interests of a few leaseholders and wind energy companies that would like to profit at the expense of Tipton County citizens.
BZA President Jerry Acres was absolutely correct that the integrity and credibility of the board was at stake on this matter. His example of principled leadership should be noted by other county officials. If the Planning Commission and the Board of Commissioners do not want to undermine their own integrity and credibility in the midst of this drawn out battle, they will quickly follow the BZA’s lead on the issue of increased setbacks based on property lines and institute this or stronger language into the county ordinance.
Work remains to be done in Tipton County to ensure the property rights, property values, and health and safety of citizens is protected going forward, and that restitution is made to citizens already negatively affected by the Wildcat Wind Farm. For any elected or appointed officials who have been reluctant to speak out on the issue up to this point, the BZA’s bold and clear action July 31 to uphold its original decision should alleviate any hesitancy a public official may feel to vote against the self-serving interests of a powerful few.
Now is the time to bring this divisive issue of industrial wind turbines in residential areas to a close. County officials can begin work to restore Tipton County to a respectable position of serving the people who entrusted them with power. And if they choose to remain obstinate, silent or paralyzed by fear of shaking up the good ‘ol boys network of this county, we the people will shake up the leadership of this county in coming elections.
A very large and continually growing number of Tipton County citizens are united by the fundamental principle to protect all of our neighbors. The stakes are high, and we won’t back down. We are watching and listening to every decision made by our elected officials, and we will hold those accountable whose leadership is motivated by self-interest and exemplified by backroom deals rather than integrity and credible service to all citizens of Tipton County.
Nathan D. Salsbery
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