An ordinance that would ban large-scale wind farms from Tippecanoe County is moving on to county commissioners for approval and implementation. The Area Plan Commission voted to recommend its passage at a meeting Wednesday.
Meeting attendants argued both for and against wind turbines. That’s a change from previous discussions of the proposed ban, which were mostly opposed to wind farm development.
Those in favor of wind farms say the ban is a step back for Tippecanoe County and limits potential developments in sustainable, green energy.
Resident Jennifer Teisling asked the commission if the county had plans to pursue other renewable energy options.
“If we aren’t interested in wind energy here, do we have another plan for that,” Teisling says.
But supporters of the ban gave a presentation about why they believe wind farms aren’t right for the area.
Resident Julie Peretin spoke for several attendees in favor of the ban. She gave a presentation on factors her group thinks the county should consider in regulating turbines, including population.
“When looking at the population of these areas, the current parcel configuration and population density, it became clear that we are already too densely populated for a large-scale project,” Peretin says.
County Commissioner Tom Murtaugh defended the ordinance, insisting it is not a statement against renewable energy.
“I think obviously we all support sustainable energy and recognize the importance of that,” Murtaugh says. “What we’re saying is it’s irresponsible for this group to make a decision to speak for decades.”
The ordinance still allows for individual, smaller turbines on private property for homes and businesses. But it would outlaw large-scale projects built using leases across multiple properties.
Murtaugh says the decades-long leases wind companies rely on could restrict growth and development in the county.
The Commission approved the proposed ordinance 11-4. Commissioners will consider it at their May meeting.
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