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County residents want judicial review of WECS ordinance

More than two dozen people have filed petitions with Henry Circuit Court 1 asking a judge to take a look at the section of the county’s development code that deals with wind energy conversion systems (WECS).

According to court documents filed Friday, the petitioners are from Middletown, Straughn, New Castle, Shirley, Spiceland, Mooreland, Sulphur Springs and Hagerstown. The respondents in the petition are the Henry County Planning Commission, the Henry County Commissioners and Big Blue River Wind Farm, LLC.

The filings are asking a Henry County judge to determine if the WECS ordinance is valid and if the planning commission has the legal authority to authorize commission approved uses for meteorological towers.

The petitions for judicial review each claim that the planning commission failed to give proper notice in October 2009 of the public hearing for a new proposed wind ordinance.

Legal notices in the Oct. 8, 2009 edition of The Courier-Times show three notices for Henry County Planning Commission hearings that include the date, time and location of those meetings.

A fourth notice, also published Oct. 8, 2009, reads “Notice is hereby given that the Henry County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing in regard to the proposed Wind Ordinance. The hearing will be held in the Old Circuit Court Room, Henry County Courthouse, 101 S. Main Street, New Castle, IN 47362.”

A notice from then-zoning administrator Adam Hollars to The Courier-Times contained no date or time for the wind ordinance public hearing.

The petitioners also argue that the planning commission does not have legal authority to approve meteorological towers because they are not explicitly listed in the “Utilities” section of the Henry County Development Code.

The petitioners have asked that the court: declare that the wind ordinance is invalid; declare that the planning commission does not have statutory authority to approve commission approved uses; reverse the planning commission decision to authorize a meteorological tower in Henry County; confirm that the application for such a tower is denied; prevent Big Blue River Wind Farm, LLC from proceeding with the construction of the tower and provide all other just and proper relief.

As of presstime Tuesday, no court dates regarding the matter had been scheduled.