The Huntington County Plan Commission has heard from concerned citizens regarding the current wind ordinance for wind farms. Plan commission members will now investigate those concerns.
Plan commission members met Wednesday night to discuss and possibly propose changes to the ordinance that was adopted in 2009. Instead, plan commission members have decided to put together subcommittees to research their own findings on four major concerns citizens had with the current ordinance.
“We have a couple of the plan commission members that are going to look at the sound part of the ordinance, a couple are going to look at the decommissioning part of the ordinance, a couple of the plan commission members are going to look at the setbacks, and a couple of the plan commission members are going to look at the property values,” said Jay Poe, one of the plan commission members.
A Virginia-based company wants to invest almost $200 million, to install wind turbines in the southeast part of Huntington County. There’s been extensive opposition due to the ordinance that was put into place after the offer was made. Poe said the wind turbine industry has changed since the current ordinance went into effect five years ago. He believes it’s only fitting to look at those changes before moving forward.
“There’s enough different testimony out there that and new information from when we made our ordinance back in 2009,” he said. “That it’s realistic to have some changes at this point in time.”
A group was formed to educate and oppose the wording of the law. The Huntington County Concerned Citizens has attended every meeting, including Thursday night, trying to add more restrictions to the current ordinance. John Shuttleworth, president of the group, said the plan commission members’ plan to break up into subcommittees was wise and could offer better insight into an already complicated industry.
“These are very in-depth, difficult subjects,” Shuttleworth said. “I think by them breaking it up, I think they’re going to get a better product in the end.”
Plan commission members will come back and report their findings next month. Any recommended changes to the ordinance at that time will be proposed to county commissioners in September. As for the wind turbine project itself, it’s not clear exactly when county leaders will approve or reject it.
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