I would like to commend Plan Commission members Jim Ashley and Helen Tragesser for stepping up at the meeting Aug. 15 and saying industrial wind farms are not a good fit for Tipton County. They both agreed that while the majority of Tipton County’s 16,000 residents have not spoken up, the majority of those who have are against the turbiness.
With the exception of one member, all asked good questions in regards to rewriting the county ordinance. Member Cohee made it quite evident that he is willing to go ahead and overturn the ruling of the BZA that he voted for in March and go against the majority of the community and allow turbines to be installed without regard to property rights and safety.
If the Plan Commission chooses to ignore the 1,500-foot setback from property lines that the BZA set for the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm and allow other companies a lesser setback, they will be opening the county to enormous lawsuits.
The BZA also said it wants a property value guarantee. No one is really sure how it should be worded. The wind companies say it is not needed and are convinced the turbines will have no effect on property values. If that is true, then they should not have a problem guaranteeing my property value not decrease due to the installation of a turbine in the vicinity of my house.
The guarantee should be for a period of time beginning with the announcement of a wind farm in my area, and be in effect until the turbine is removed. There should be no dollar limits. All non-participating homeowners should be covered by the guarantee.
I do agree that the guarantee would be for the current owner and does not pass on to the person who buys my house. If he is dumb enough to buy a house in a wind farm, he deserves whatever happens.
I, on the other hand and being an honest person, could not in good conscience sell my house to someone else without informing the new owners of what I know about the turbines, should they ask.
If there is not a need for a guarantee, then why would it be an issue with the appraisers? We refinanced our home in May to get a lower rate. I had a “no wind farm” sign in my front yard. The appraiser asked about it and if there were plans to build in my area. I said I believe there have been leases signed, but the wind companies have not filed with the county yet.
She was from Kokomo and was aware of the publicity of the wind farm issues in Tipton and Howard counties. She also said that her company had made the decision not to do appraisals for the sake of a pre-wind-farm appraisal. It was concerned about possible future litigation.
I was surprised and concerned when I got the appraisal and she had included in the special comment section that “at this time there are no wind farms planned near this property.” The mortgage company representative doing my loan was very concerned, as he said the underwriters are scrutinizing loans for anything that might possibly affect the loan or the property.
The 1,500-foot setback from property lines and a property value guarantee are not negotiable. They are standards set by the BZA and must be adhered to. If, as according to Mr. Cohee, the project won’t work, then I guess it won’t work and it’s time for juwi and E.ON to move on.
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