WEST LEBANON, Ind. – After more than three hours of public comment on Monday night, the fate of a controversial wind farm proposed in Warren County still hangs in the balance.
About 100 people gathered at the Seeger Memorial Junior-Senior High School in West Lebanon to discuss the Jordan Creek Wind Farm. The Warren County Board of Zoning Appeals meeting heard from most of the attendees, who gave passionate speeches for and against the project.
The meeting met its time cap before the board could ask questions or make a final decision on the matter. The board will meet again Dec. 12 to continue the discussion.
Opponents of the farm argued against the wind turbines’ sound, lights, aesthetics and potential environmental impacts.
“We want it left as a farm community,” said Barb Gosser, whose home would be near the wind farm. “Leave our community as is – a farm community.”
Proponents, though, praised the project’s potential for economic development in the area and the financial incentives that would come along with it.
California-based Orion Renewable Energy Group is seeking a special exception required by the county’s zoning rules to develop the wind farm. It would construct up to 150 wind turbines across Jordan, Liberty, Prairie and Steuben townships, according to the special exception application. The turbines would generate enough electricity for 80,000 Indiana homes, according to the special exemption application.
The project also would include access roads, cables, electric substations, above-ground transmission lines and meteorological towers.
Property taxes and other payments to Warren County are expected to add up to more than $32 million over 30 years. The farm would cover about 27,000 acres of private land. Residents who allow the infrastructure on their land are expected to receive more than $35 million over 25 years, according to the application.
The project includes a decommissioning agreement. Should the turbines cease producing power for 12 months – and no further plan is submitted to and approved by the Warren County Zoning Office – the company must decommission the equipment.
Warren County allows wind farms to go into areas zoned as agricultural with a special exception from the board of zoning appeals.
City and county government reporter Jeremy Ervin contributed to this article.
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