NORTHWOOD, Iowa – After nearly two hours of public comment, the Worth County Board of Supervisors gave initial approval for an ordinance that would remove zoning restrictions and regulations from future renewable energy projects.
It’s a move that many people living in the county say they disagree with.
“We’re kind of considered the wild west of the wind turbine country, and I think that’s why there’s been so many of them put up everywhere around worth county.”
Julie Kuntz lives near Grafton, in the shadow of existing wind turbines.
“We’re not looking to say we’re not going to have any wind turbines, we’re not looking to have more. We’re asking that some decent, well thought out regulations on these multi billion dollar wind industry companies be put into place in Worth County.”
If all readings of the ordinance are passed, according to Section 3 of Worth County Ordinance 18/12/3, eligible property that is proposed for construction in townships in the county not zoned “shall be considered exempt from future zoning restrictions and requirements if an estimated percentage of the value of such property is prospectively committed for county infrastructure projects.”
Edith Haenel has lived in Worth County for 35 years, and has seen the explosion in renewable energy projects. She’s asking for more time before implementing the ordinance.
“We want the wind industry and all the other energy industries coming into Worth County to be well regulated, and well researched and well discussed. This seems fast and rushed, kind of a midnight deal.”
Kuntz says that she hoped more people would have been involved in the process.
“We want to be involved. We want our public health department, our conservation department, our emergency medical department to be involved in decisions crafting a wind energy ordinance.”
The second reading and vote on the ordinance will be held at next Monday’s meeting. The ordinance “shall be in effect upon its final passage, approval, and publication as provided by law.”
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