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Citizens discuss wind ordinances

After a proposal for an 87-turbine wind farm was struck down by the Stark County Commission in May, the Concerned Citizens of Stark County are looking to amend the county’s wind ordinance as a safeguard for future projects.

A public hearing to discuss the wind ordinance was scheduled for the Stark County Planning and Zoning board meeting Thursday afternoon, but that hearing was postponed upon request.

Lorrie Nantt, a member of the Concerned Citizens, said the group asked to delay the hearing due to scheduling conflicts and a desire to take a closer look at the current ordinance and discuss changes they would like to make to it.

“We just weren’t prepared,” Nantt said.

And while concerned citizens were not ready, commissioners heard comments regarding the matter, but those were not formally recorded.

Nancy Kleingartner, a resident of Taylor, told commissioners that she has spent time reviewing the county’s wind ordinance.

She said the document is five pages long, which is extensive when compared to the county’s oil, gas or coal ordinances.

“We have local, we have county, we have state and we have industry regulations and standards (for wind energy),” she said. “I think it is sufficient for the safe production of wind energy.”

Another Stark County resident, Frank Kutka, agreed that the wind ordinance does not need to be further restricted.

“I don’t believe we need additional regulations for wind power at this time,” he said during the meeting. “I would like to see some of the other energy handled in such a comprehensive manner.”

Melissa Hochmuth, project manager for NextEra Energy Resources, told commissioners that the current ordinance shouldn’t be changed.

“You guys took a lot of time to develop a strict wind ordinance that is workable and reasonable for sensible development to make sure that development is done responsibly in the county,” she said. “Your ordinance and process works.”