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Fayette Co. board decision clears way for turbines near Fairbank

The Fayette County Zoning Board of Adjustment denied two appeals Tuesday night that clear the way for wind turbines to be built near Fairbank.

The City of Fairbank had filed an appeal, saying that the board had misinterpreted the ordinance about whether wind turbines could be built in an agriculture district.

The ordinance, which was written in 1972, has no clear reference to wind turbines as we know them today. So the issue at hand wasn’t whether the county was pro wind or not, but if they had made a legal interpretation of the ordinance.

The board voted 3-0, saying Zoning Administrator Katherine Miller had made a legal decision.

Bill Cowell, mayor of Fairbank, was disappointed by the decision.

“I understand it’s a legal issue,” he said. “As far as our opinion, we’re not happy about that, obviously. We want our city to grow, and the concern is that, how willing are new families going to be to move into the area, build a home, and build it in that area that the windmills are going to be clearly visible to them.”

Optimum Renewables is now clear to start construction on three 492 foot windmills, barring anymore appeals.

Miller says if the city does decide to appeal the board’s decision, it would then be heard at the district court level.

Cowell says he’s unsure if that’s the plan.

“We’ll discuss it at our city council meeting to decide if there’s anything else we can do as far as an appeal, and then at that point, we’ll decide if we’re going to move forward,” he said.