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Commissioners hear windfarm concerns

Residents poured into the first floor of the Montgomery County Courthouse Monday morning to let the Montgomery County Commissioners know how they felt about windfarms. More than 50 people were present for the meeting, including many advocating for the group No Wind Farm Montgomery County. They pushed the commissioners to take a fresh look at outdated windfarm ordinances and regulations.

“Research, research, research!” Montgomery County Councilman, Mark Davidson, advised the commissioners. Davidson spoke about the negative effects of the turbines such as the flashing shadows from the wind turbine blades and red flashing lights. He also spoke to economical side of the wind farms saying “I think it also has potential to destroy future economic development. As I balance it out, I see more harm than good. The residual effect of this. . . I think is detrimental to the county. The setback that is in the ordinance right now needs to be at least doubled.”

Tisha Southwood took the podium to be heard and addressed the many health issues that she says can be attributed to the wind farms.

“There is a strong health link here that needs to be looked into,” Southwood said.

Rich Watkins lives in North East Montgomery County.

“I am all for private property use, but if they’re going to use a signal that crosses into my property making me and my neighbors sick, that’s trespassing” Watkins said.

Commissioners Jim Fulwider and John Frey listened as, one by one, community members took the stand to plead their case to the commissioners.

Although Commissioner Phil Bane was out of town, Fulwider and Frey both agreed that the subject matter needs further investigation.

“We are already in the process of discussion as to having it looked at,” Fulwider said. “2009 was obviously a whole different board of commissioners that was on it. There’s probably some things in there that’s in there that really, technically, legally can’t be in there. We don’t have any type of a restriction as far as a plan or any type of zoning in this county so that takes a lot of those restrictions away. There’s a lot of stuff in there that shouldn’t have been put into original ordinance anyway. It is definitely in our discussion and definitely something we are going to look into.”

“This portion of the agenda is the public’s opportunity to bring things to us. Yes we can look into this. Don’t think we’re not,” Frey said. “We are on the same team here.”

Erin Baker, Apex Clean Energy spokesperson, stressed the point that all landowners participating are voluntary and the wind farm projects take a long time because of the thought and care that goes into it.