The Jasper County Plan Commission voted unanimously Monday, Sept. 24 to defer further work on amending the county’s wind turbine ordinance to an advisory committee to be formed at a later date. Before the meeting was over, however, Commission President Gerritt DeVries voiced his exasperation over an amended ordinance not being hammered out yet and forwarded to the County Commissioners for approval.
Commissioners began Monday’s meeting, which took place at the Jasper County Fairgrounds, by discussing the proposed amended ordinance. A vote was anticipated at the end of the meeting until Jasper County Surveyor/Plan Commissioner Vince Urbano and Jasper County Commissioner/plan commissioner James Walstra said they would not accept the new document in its present form.
“This was written to ban” turbines, said Urbano. “It’s a tight situation that we’re in, and we’re dealing with one extreme to the other. We’ve got to get this thing right.”
“I can’t live with this whole thing,” said Walstra. “We’ve really got to talk this thing through. I’m on the fence. Either we say no, or massage the old [ordinance].” And at that point in the meeting, neither Walstra nor Urbano were ready for an outright ban on turbines.
“There’s more than just the ordinance that needs to be revised” since whatever changes in the current ordinance stand a good chance of impacting the county’s zoning laws, and this aspect also needs to be investigated and discussed before approving a new turbine ordinance, said Urbano.
“The county commissioners can throw this back, but I’m not going to accept it, and I’m tired of it,” said an exasperated DeVries. We’ve got to quit tossing this thing around. It’s exhausting. The revisions are mainly about setbacks; a simple thing, a simple thing.”
DeVries clearly stated his outright disdain for wind turbines in the county, adding that he will be stepping down from his plan commission post next year. “I think 100 percent they should be banned,” he stated. “I’m very frustrated that we’ve not. I’m burnt out on it. I want turbines to be banned in Jasper County.”
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