After a presentation by about a dozen concerned area residents, Belle Center Village Council and Mayor Rhonda Fulmer supported a resolution formally declaring their opposition to wind development around the village.
Everpower Renewables has proposed a 300-megawatt project to construct up to 176 turbines in northern Logan and southern Hardin counties, including numerous turbines surrounding the village of Belle Center.
And several residents, who also turned out for a public hearing on the project in Kenton last week, urged council at the Tuesday evening meeting to take a stand against the industrial scale wind farm.
“I’m really concerned about the village of Belle Center because I grew up here,” Katie Elsasser of Richland Township said. “Will people still want to live here? From my research, in towns near wind turbines, the population drops. It’s driving a wedge between people who have been friends for years. It makes me very nervous and hurts me for our town.”
She went on to discuss noise and shadow flicker issues, details about the British private equity firm Terra Firma that owns Everpower and the state funding formula for wind projects that relies heavily on taxpayer subsidies.
Area resident Ed Fisher also noted that the project is in a much heavier populated area than most other wind developments.
“It will be setting records for size of a wind farm in a populated area,” he said. “(Everpower) has 11 different sites, but this is the first time they are putting wind turbines in an area like this one. Usually it’s on strip mines or forested areas.”
In driving home the point, the speakers called on the village officials to press the issue with Logan County Commissioners and Richland Township Trustees to deny a request for payments in lieu of taxes to school and government entities.
“I would really encourage you to seriously consider this and at some point take a formal position, which I would hope would be in opposition,” Mrs. Elsasser said.
Council President Dustin Plikerd, who also attended the Kenton hearing last week, noted that village residents he has spoken with are not in favor of the project. He then proposed a resolution to oppose the project and follow up with letters to the county commission and township trustees urging them to do the same.
Council members voted unanimously in favor of Councilman Plikerd’s resolution.
Although she had no vote, Mayor Fulmer said she also supports the resolution.
“I would like to say I am in agreement with council,” she said.
In other activity, council voted to approve on second reading an ordinance to raise water rates a total of $10 per month this year, divided over two separate $5 increases to take effect on the April and October bills.
They also approved on first and final reading ordinances to authorize a bank loan to purchase a $67,000 dump truck with a snowplow and salt spreader, and to allow Fiscal Officer Chris Dinovo to reside outside the village.
Council meets again in regular session at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11.
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