For the second time this year, Matagorda County Commissioners will once again revisit an ordinance for the establishment of a reinvestment zone for tax abatement upon request of Peyton Creek Wind farm. The public hearing has been set for Monday, Oct. 8 at 9:45 a.m.
Back in July of this year, the proposed $184 million wind farm was presented to the court. The plan was to place 44 to 75 wind turbines on 12,000 to 15,000 leased acres south of Bay City that is used now for cattle and grazing.
According to Matagorda County Attorney Denise Fortenberry, the last time this project was presented to commissioners it was deemed too large of an area and this time the plan is to present a smaller, more focused area.
Commissioners tabled the agenda item July 16 of this year after a long public hearing. At that meeting, a packed courtroom heard from residents concerned that the wind farm would have an impact on migratory and raptor bird fly zones and the environment.
“We have some specific concerns with the location of this wind farm,” U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Gretchen Nareff said. “We generally try to discourage companies from building in this area. The iconic endangered species of Texas, the whooping crane, have barely 450 individuals left in this population.”
Bay City Tourism manager Heidi Martinez said during the July meeting that the windmills would have a bad effect on birding and tourism in the area.
“We wanted you to know that we are highly concerned with how these windmills will affect birding and tourism in the area,” Bay City Tourism manager Heidi Martinez said. “We are a huge birding destination… something we are very proud of. Because of our central location for migratory birds, we have concerns about the specific location these windmills are to be placed.”
Christian Ryan, representing south Texas agriculture aviators in the area, also brought up about economic impact on the area and if the 10 permanent jobs that it’s expected to bring will be done by people from Matagorda County.
“The affect it will have on farming is pretty dramatic. There are times, especially in rice, these planes are needed. It will only be accessible by helicopter, which will cost four times as much,” Ryan said. “They haven’t reached out to us all to see how it would affect us.”
Detractors of the project said the county needs to consider the cost to resident and the benefit they will receive in return. Chapter 312 of the Texas Tax Code was enacted to bring jobs to Texas, which allows taxpayers incentivize development via their local governments, the development brings jobs, and taxpayers benefit with employment opportunities and increased tax revenue.
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