CAMBRIDGE CITY – A group of northern Wayne County residents are asking the Cambridge City Town Council to prohibit construction of tall wind turbines in the 2-mile fringe around the town.
The Council heard the area residents and will review information provided and indicated they may conduct a work session early next year on the topic.
Former Dublin resident Kylee Bowling, now living north of Hagerstown, said when residents in that part of Wayne County learned of the potential for a wind farm in the area, they went to the Hagerstown Town Council with a proposal to prohibit turbines in the 2-mile fringe with zoning controlled by the town.
The Wayne County Commissioners last week changed the county zoning code to require anyone wishing to install the large wind turbines, those above 100 feet tall, to go before the Wayne County Board of Zoning Appeals to gain a variance. The BZA could set standards for setbacks.
Commissioner Denny Burns said the decision to vote for the change came after he received 500 telephone calls opposing wind farms and just two in favor.
Information presented showed that counties with larger turbines had a decrease in population while those counties that prohibit them showed steady population or an increase in population.
Council President Mark McCarty pointed out areas of the state were losing population anyway so the wind turbines may not have anything to do with that.
Lance Lumpkin said the Hagerstown Town Council will be voting on the ordinance presented to the Cambridge City Council members for review to restrict or prohibit the large turbines.
If the Cambridge City wants to protect itself, the ordinance change is something to consider, he said.
Town Attorney Bob Bever advised the town’s zoning code does not address wind turbines.
Bowling said wind energy companies plan on having wind farms from Randolph County, where a wind farm recently began operations, through Fayette County where a farm has been proposed and into Henry County.
NextEra Energy has proposed the West Fork Wind Energy Center for northwest Fayette County, northern Rush County and southern Henry County. The company has scheduled 2018 to begin construction if a purchaser of the power can be located and may even be able to begin construction in 2017.
“Your neighbors to the west are getting ready to have turbines in your back door, eight that NextEra has received approval for,” said Hagerstown Area Resident Jon Robinson. “About the only thing to stop that is if they go bankrupt or whatever (President-Elect) Donald Trump may do.”
He said another company wishes to have a farm further west of that proposed wind farm.
He added that many people who liked that thought of green energy, once they began reading some of the issues involved with the wind farms, they are changing their minds.
The Council approved a new four-year contract with the commissioners to continue turning half the town’s revenue from the Economic Development Income Tax to the county which then contracts with the Economic Development Corp. to provide the economic development services in the county.
“In 1993, the Wayne County Council joined with all the towns in Wayne County to enact an EDIT, an income tax of 1 percent on all the taxpayers in this county,” Burns said. “The cities and towns agreed they would share 50 percent of their income with the county commissioners and we would establish the EDC for the county.”
He estimated the amount from the town to be contributed to the county would be about $40,000.
“You were in it from the beginning,” he said. “There is no community in Wayne County that has benefited more through the EDC than Cambridge City. You have $700 million invested in just the Gateway (Industrial Park north of the town). Next year when SugarCreek reaches its goal for jobs, there will be more than 700 jobs just in that park. We’re wanting to add on.”
He said the contract with towns has been modified twice, once for Richmond and once for Milton, suspending payments so the town of Milton could tear down a dangerous eyesore in the community.
Burns also congratulated the Council on its appointment of Cambridge City business owner Beth Leisure to serve on the EDC board. She will be a good addition.
The Council approved the purchase of a refurbished 2001 leaf machine for $15,000.
Public Works Manager Doug Young said Brown Equipment near Fort Wayne had received the machine in trade from Noblesville. The machine is a step above the current 1995 machine used by the town.
The old machine will be maintained to provide two machines when the leaves are falling quickly as well as giving the town a backup if one breaks down, McCarty said.
The town loans the machine to Dublin in trade for using Dublin’s bucket truck. The town of Pershing has paid for using the machine.
Next year, the leaf collection will return to a schedule for collection rather than moving around so residents will know when to sweep leaves to the curb, Young said.
Friday is the last day the town will receive applications for the vacant position on the town’s Public Works Department. Young will interview candidates and make a recommendation to Council at the special meeting Dec. 27 at 5 p.m.
The Winter Wonderland Christmas lights in Creitz Park will be open Christmas Eve.
The American Red Cross is partnering with the Cambridge City Fire Department to provide free 10-year smoke detectors for residents of the town.
Fire Chief Jeff Gabbard said the batteries cannot be removed for other uses, disabling the alarm. The Red Cross is currently taking names and then later they and the firefighters will be going out installing the detectors.
If residents need help to install a purchased smoke detector or replace batteries, contact the fire department and one of the firefighters will come to the residence to assist the resident.
Call 765-277-0287 to reserve a smoke detector.
Santa Claus will be at the Fire Station Friday and Saturday evenings.
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