The recently proposed amendment to the Montgomery County ordinance to regulate wind energy conversion systems has gotten the attention of the companies working to bring wind farms to the area.
The present ordinance states the noise shall not exceed 60 decibels. Commissioners have proposed setting the maximum level at 30 decibels.
On Monday, commissioners heard from a noise specialist from Apex Clean Energy regarding the noise decibels generated by wind turbines. Hankard Environmental president Michael Hankard of Madison, Wisconsin, told commissioners he has traveled across the United States conducting noise studies. He said a majority of ordinances set the maximum at 50 decibels, although a few counties allow a maximum of 60 decibels.
Hankard said setting the maximum exterior noise limit at 30 decibels would be “an extremely low number.”
Erin Baker, Apex senior development manager, is spearheading the efforts of the local Roaming Bison Wind Project located in northwest Montgomery County and now Fountain County. She said her company wants commissioners to hear “fact-based information” from Hankard who is an acoustical consultant. She also asked commissioners to be a “part of the conversation.”
Baker reminded commissioners that other Indiana counties, such as Benton, have successful wind farms.
Baker also questioned the argument concerning health issues with wind turbines.
“You have examples of safe and successful wind projects in Indiana,” Baker said. “If the accusations against wind energy were true, (wind projects) would have been killed a long time ago.”
Before Baker and Hankard spoke, two local residents spoke against wind farms. Tom Knueven, who lives at Rocky Ridge Golf Club, is concerned about ground water pollution involving wind mill farms. He also is concerned the present ordinance, in his opinion, places the county at great financial risk if a wind farm is decommissioned and turbines must be razed.
Bill Milam, a member of the No Wind Farms Montgomery County group, said he has studied court cases across the United States, and he does not believe the current ordinance will “stand up in court.”
Montgomery County Councilman Mark Davidson told commissioners to “stick to their guns” and pass the proposal amendment.
Commissioners had no comment at the end of the public comments.
After 21 years of fundraising by local residents, commissioners approved a contract to construct the courthouse clock tower. Clocktower Committee member Sandra Lofland-Brown was on hand to witness the contract signing.
Lofland-Brown said the committee has received more donations since the county council agreed to financially support the project if not all funds are raised when due in 2018. To donate, make checks payable to the Montgomery County Historical Society, Tower Fund and send them to Sandra Lofland-Brown at 1449 W. U.S. 136, Crawfordsville, IN 47933. All donations are tax deductible.
In other business, commissioners:
• Passed an ordinance establishing a State Homeland Security Grant Fund for grants already approved with the county Emergency Management Administration.
• Approved a bid with Gibson Construction for the county highway maintenance garage in the amount of $487,980.
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