After one year of discussion at community and Mason County Fiscal Court meetings about wind energy, the public had a chance Monday to present their opinions to members of the Mason County Joint Planning Commission.
The four-hour public hearing was held Monday, May 12, at the Fields Auditorium on the campus of Maysville Community and Technical College.
Three expert witnesses presented testimony on the effects of wind turbines related to property values, health issues, setbacks and other matters.
The Citizens Voice of Mason County, a group of May’s Lick residents opposed to wind power in Mason County, secured the services of the experts for the public meeting.
The members of the JPC are charged with establishing recommendations to county and city government bodies on zoning and planning issues.
Matt Wallingford, zoning administrator, said JPC members will now take the recommendations and comments of the public and expert witnesses into consideration for development of ordinance language that will be sent on the Mason County Fiscal Court.
Wallingford said it could be three to four months before the JPC drafts their final recommendations. Examples of issues to be further reviewed are setbacks of locations of wind turbines, sound and flicker effects, decommissioning of wind turbines and bonding issues.
Wallingford said the consensus of the approximately 20 people who spoke is for the JPC to either make a decision to not allow wind turbines in the county at all or to establish setbacks that will protect the public.
The controversy over wind energy in the county began last year when residents of May’s Lick learned Duke Energy Renewables representatives were soliciting land leases with citizens to locate as many as 25 wind turbines in Mason County and as many as 75 wind turbines in Fleming County.
On May 8, Duke Energy Renewables notified state and county officials they were discontinuing the project because the likelihood of success is marginal, and the company plans to explore other areas that require less resources in early-stage development and have a higher likelihood of success.