KALIDA – Two years after village residents voted 64 to 36 to zone for turbines, based upon approval by council, the village of Kalida said no to wind turbines. In a five-to-one vote during Monday’s regular meeting, members of Kalida Village Council voted down a request by KMI, Inc. to construct two wind turbines to offset the company’s electrical costs.
Former Kalida council member Dick Bockrath spoke on behalf of residents who were opposed to the wind turbine construction. He referred to a mapped diagram of the proposed turbine placement, estimating that approximately 30 homes are located within 1/2 mile radius from one turbine and another 10 from the other. He said that KMI has been a benefit to the community, but that the wind turbine project has met with substantial opposition.
“Shadow flicker, noise, ice throw, just the nuisance of having to look at these gigantic structures, but what it all boils down to is the potential loss of property values,” said Bockrath. “The village looks good. Why do we want to take a chance jeopardizing that?”
Bockrath referred to research he had conducted which resulted in governmental documents and public case studies in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Illinois. He noted that he was unable to locate a situation in Ohio which would mirror the KMI wind turbine proposal.
When asked what KMI’s response would be to a vote of ‘no’ regarding its wind turbine project, Rick Esch, KMI Senior Vice President, responded, “If your point is are we forcing council to make a decision in our favor, I think that anyone who has observed this process over the past two and half years sees we have never strong-armed anyone on this project. We have presented this to council in the prescribed manner.“
Esch added that the company is facing increasing electric rates that will continue to climb based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s mandate regarding energy from coal-fired generation.
“Our purpose is for us to help to secure the future for the over 500 families that depend on KMI for the income. That is my purpose,” said Esch. “We are not looking at this project as a make-or-break. However, it is an impact on our financial future.”
In other business, B & K Tool, Inc. has applied for a a Community Redevelopment Act (CRA) within Kalida, which could allow the company to receive a form of tax abatement. According to Mayor Alan Gerdeman, this is for a 10,000 sq. ft. expansion resulting in three additional full-time employees and two part-time with an expected investment of $650,000. Gerdeman said Kalida Clerk Rita Schroeder has been given approval to begin the paperwork process with Kalida Local Schools. Council approved.