DEKALB COUNTY, Mo. – Another dramatic chapter is unfolding in a nearly two-year fight over wind turbines in northwest Missouri.
NextEra Energy has constructed two meteorological evaluation towers, or met towers, to measure wind speed on properties in Washington Township in DeKalb County.
However, the township’s board president and other neighbors believe NextEra constructed those towers illegally.
“I’m not sure what their intention is,” said Board President Martin Zimmerman. “They know we’re zoned.”
Zimmerman said no special use permit has been issued to NextEra or the landowners to construct the met towers.
A company spokesman said the towers went up in the past week with specific permission from landowners.
That spokesman declined further comment based on pending litigation.
NextEra is currently suing Washington Township and its board in a dispute over zoning rules, alleging the township’s zoning rules don’t stop landowners from building on their property.
NextEra has built 97 wind turbines in other DeKalb County townships nearby, providing energy for KCP&L to power 60,000 homes.
The company pays landowners more than $8,000 per turbine per year, according to a landowner KMBC 9 News spoke with earlier this year.
The company also paid more than $2.7 million to various tax entities in Missouri in its first year, according to NextEra.
The turbines have divided county residents, as KMBC 9 News saw Thursday, when neighbor Jim Rosier drove up to an interview being conducted with concerned citizen Johnnie Walker and a neighbor who did not want to be identified.
“This [met] tower doesn’t hurt nobody, and these people are afraid that they’re going to have more windmills,” said Rosier.
Rosier has two wind turbines on his property and says he wants more for his family to help with income.
“If you want to get the truth out there, you better listen to somebody who has windmills and knows that these people don’t know what the hell they’re talking about,” Rosier said.
Asked for reaction to those comments, Walker said “It’s me versus we,” adding the towers on landowners’ properties have an effect on the entire community’s health and welfare and that he firmly believes the new met towers are illegal.
“We have a rule of law here in this state and this country and we’d like to see it maintained,” he said. “It’s just not right for a large multimillion-dollar company to come in here and try and break our township.”
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