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Is county concerned with due process?

There were several responses to the Tipton County BZA decisions on wind farms made at the July 31 special meeting.

The following is a statement from John Cardwell, representing the leaseholders of the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm, as printed in the Tipton Tribune on Aug. 1:

“Tipton County has long been a place where reasoned and fair public decisions have been made and where the rights of all citizens are respected. By acting in an arbitrary manner that violated the due process rights of citizens in Tipton County, the Board of Zoning Appeals failed to ensure a fair and open process, failed to follow the law, and failed to serve the economic interests of the community and its citizens.”

Leaseholders held closed door meetings with juwi from 2009 through 2013 to sign leases. The remaining citizens of Tipton County received notice from a Kokomo Tribune news article in January 2013, announcing juwi’s request to install industrial wind turbines. A fair and open process?

Juwi stated the “due process to an open public hearing was violated.” There was an eight-hour public hearing March 20, and the decision was made to allow the conditional use permit with 1,500-foot setbacks.

Juwi had 30 days to appeal. Juwi chose not to appeal. Juwi chose to use a different course of action: ask the BZA to change its decision and not follow the law.

On July 31 the BZA decided to follow the law and set a hearing on the property-rights guarantee. The BZA majority voted not to change their decision of March 20.

Do the leaseholders not agree with the majority vote of the BZA because they no longer have a leaseholder on the BZA?

The following night the Tipton County Planning Commission held a scheduled meeting to discuss the future of wind energy in Tipton County. Part of the board members’ discussion involved the suggestion that the power of the BZA should be changed and or reduced to allow wind turbine installation without the BZA involvement.

Does this idea violate the due process of the law and reduce the rights of non-leaseholder landowners? You be the judge.

Russell Turk

Sharpsville