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Oral arguments postponed in wind case; Continued to later in December

It will be two or three weeks before a judge hears from Henry County petitioners and government representatives in person regarding Henry County’s ordinance on Wind Energy Conversion Systems (WECS).

A group of residents is challenging the validity of the ordinance in court. They argue that the county didn’t follow procedure when passing the ordinance in 2009.

Energy company Big Blue River Wind Farm, LLC asked the court to dismiss the entire case, claiming that the petitioners went through the wrong process to contest the current ordinance.

Big Blue River Wind Farm has plans to develop a wind farm north of U.S. Hwy 36. The Henry County Planning Commission granted approval earlier this year for the company to construct two measurement towers in that area to gather data before moving forward.

The petition for judicial review filed in May challenges the WECS ordinance itself and the authority of the planning commission to grant “commission-approved uses” of the land at all.

In August, Big Blue River Wind Farm asked special judge Linda Ralu Wolf of Delaware County to dismiss the judicial review request entirely. The company argued that the 2009 WECS ordinance adoption was a legislative act, not a zoning decision.

Wolf was originally scheduled to hear oral arguments Dec. 5 on the motion to dismiss the case.

Big Blue River Wind Farm asked at the beginning of November for the court date to be delayed. Judge Wolf agreed Nov. 15 to reschedule the hearing until either Dec. 15 or Dec. 21, with the 21st being the first choice.

As of Monday, the court had not officially scheduled a new date to hear the arguments for dismissing the WECS ordinance review request.