The Jasper County Plan Commission voted to favorably recommend a proposed amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance to the County Commissioners on Monday, Nov. 26. Only one member was absent, making for an 8-0 vote. The Jasper County Commissioners are expected to vote on the amendment during their next meeting on Monday, Dec. 2 at approximately 9:50 a.m. in the Jasper County Courthouse.
A significant aspect of the amendment is its potential impact on setbacks concerning wind turbines. According to the text of the amendment, all measurements for setbacks between a structure and a wind turbine system will be measured between the structure foundation and the center of the wind turbine system.
Each individual utility-grade turbine system would be required to be “a minimum of 1.5 times the tip height of the turbine from any property line of a participating land owner” who has signed a contract with the wind company in question, as well as the property line of any on-site above ground utility.
Additionally, each turbine system “shall be located the greater of 2,640 feet or 6.5 times the tip height of the turbine from any non-participating property line.”
Furthermore, the turbine system must be “a minimum distance of 1.1 times the tip height from any public road, railroad or above-ground utility.” And the turbine must be 1.5 times the tip height from any on-site non-residential building, as well as two times the tip height of the turbine from a residential one.
The turbines must also be set back one mile from any existing participating homes or institutional properties. The owner of such a home may grant permission, but a turbine may still not be closer than 1.5 times the tip height to a property line.
Another section of the amendment calls for particular requirements against “nuisance prevention” in regard to noise generated by the wind turbines. The amendment requires that a wind turbine system in the county “shall not generate more than 35 decibels at a nonparticipating property line.”
The amendment also notably requires that all private or public drainage tile or county drain within 1.4 times tip height of any wind turbine location or construction work “shall be inspected and scoped prior to and after completion of installation, at the expense of the operator.”
The RES project
Renewable Energy Systems (RES) is a company notably planning to construct a wind farm in Jasper County, near the area of Francesville. The project has been dubbed the “White Post Wind Project” by the company.
Specifically, the project will involve up to 116 wind turbines (max. 660 ft. tall). It is expected to generate approximately 400 megawatts of power and will need associated access roads, underground collection lines, a collector substation, an operations building and meteorological towers for measuring wind speed and other climatic conditions.
The ordinance amendment affecting turbine use in the county was brought about by changes proposed by a group of local individuals including Plan Commission President Gerrett Dobson, Scott Green and Steve Molenaar. The groups goal was to provide what it has referred to as “adequate protection to those who choose not to participate in the White Post Wind Project.”
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