ADAIR COUNTY – Members of the Adair County Supervisors hope to have an ordinance to consider during their next meeting on Wednesday, following discussions in meetings last week about wind turbines.
Supervisor Matt Wedemeyer said Friday that citizens started coming to supervisor meetings last summer, “concerned about the large amount of windmills coming into the county, and our county did not have an ordinance related to the citing of wind turbines.”
There are three wind farms that are in all or part of Adair County, and two that are being generated this year, according to information from Mid American Energy Company.
The Adair wind farm that is at the corner of Cass, Adair, Guthrie and Audubon counties and produces 174.8 megawatts of power, the Rolling Hills wind farm that is at the corner of Adair, Cass and Adams counties and produces 443.9 megawatts of power, the Morning Light wind farm that is one north central line of Adair and Guthrie Counties and produces 101.2 megawatts of power are already operational.
Two proposed wind farms include the Arbor Hill wind farm, which would be in the north east corner of Adair County, and the Orient wind farm, which will be in the south central part of the county. The Arbor Hill wind farm is expected to generate 250 megawatts of power, and the Orient wind farm is expected to generate 500 megawatts of power.
“There’s nothing we’re doing to stop or prevent the current projects that coming in – the Arbor Hill Wind Farm and Orient Wind Farm – but when it’s all done, we’re going to have over 500 turbines in the county, so the board decided that we would move forward with an ordinance pertaining to sit backs of the turbines,” Wedemeyer said.
He said one of the original drafts of the ordinance had a “set back from a non-participating house of 1,800 feet, and a non-participating land owner of 500 feet.”
Since then there has been discussion to add a waver, which would allow a non-participating property to wave that restriction, and to add a cap of the number of turbines that could be in the county to 530 to give the board more time to study the issue, including looking at other counties’ ordinances on the turbines. However, there was also discussion about dropping the idea of the cap and the study until the board can discuss the legal ramifications of that idea, along with the idea of increasing the set backs from 1,800 to 2,000 for homes and from 500 to 800 for property.
Wedemeyer said he hopes an ordinance can be agreed on by Wednesday for the board to consider, and the topic is expected to be discussed at 9:30 a.m.
One Adair County citizen, Joanie Finck, cited several concerns about turbines, including property rights and safety.
“The wind turbines, the shorter ones, anyway, have a safety evacuation zone from the manufacturers manual that states in case of an accident or out of control turbine that they need to have a safety evacuation area of 1,540 feet,” Finck said on Friday. “They are placing these turbines closer than that. Not only to people’s property lines, but closer to their homes than that.
So if a turbine would be out of control, or have a fire or throw blades (or) get struck by lighting, (then people may have to evacuate). There are people who have had to evacuate their homes in the middle of the night due to out of control turbines.”
She said having to have that safety evacuation area can also have an affect on what a person can do on their property.
“If I want to go sliding on my (property) with my kids and my grandkids, I can’t because my sliding hill is too close to the turbines,” she said. “If you want to sell part of your property off to maybe one of your kids, and they want to build a home nearby, you can’t put (the home) where you want to because there may be a turbine too close.”
”If somebody wants to put a turbine on their property, I don’t have a problem with that. But when it imposes on my property rights, and what I want to do on property, (it becomes) such a huge property right’s issue,” she said.
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