PRINCETON – Gibson County Commissioners Wednesday told citizens who are concerned about the impact of a proposed industrial wind turbine farm in the county that they are meeting with representatives of E.ON Climate and Renewables to talk about bonding requirements for use of county roads and setbacks.
Commissioner Gerald Bledsoe reported that he and County Attorney James McDonald met to initially discuss issues for which the county has enforceable ordinances. He described the private meeting as an introduction to what the county would expect regarding use of county roads, and some discussion of greater setbacks. “They were receptive,” Bledsoe said, but meetings are still preliminary, he reported.
The discussion rose from an invitation by Gibcowind citizens group representative Les Kiesel for commissioners to attend a public information meeting at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, May 15 at Gibson Southern High School cafeteria (doors open at 6:30 p.m.).
Kiesel asked commissioners about what they’d learned from E.ON representatives since the company’s public meeting in March, and asked whether the company plans to conduct further public meetings.
“We’re not their promoters, they need to do their own,” McDonald said.
Kiesel said he believes the proposed project could affect more than the southern portion of the county. “I’m hearing landowners are being approached around Princeton and around Hazleton,” he told commissioners.
He offered to bring another Gibcowin presentation to Princeton.
Bledsoe assured Kiesel, “We’re all on the same page” regarding wanting more information about the project and proper setbacks.
In other business at Wednesday morning’s meeting, rescheduled from Tuesday to avoid a conflict with use of the North Annex meeting room as a polling place in the primary elections:
• Commissioners signed a grant agreement acknowledging a $325,000 industrial development grant for the Vuteq project south of Toyota. Board of Commissioners President Steve Bottoms said Gibson County Economic Development Corporation worked to acquire the funds for the project through the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.
• Commissioners discussed amendments to the county’s subdivision control ordinance. Asked about how the county ordinance affects areas within two-mile zoning jurisdictions of Princeton and Haubstadt, McDonald acknowledged that the county is typically passive if the city or town wants to enforce jurisdiction.
• Commissioners asked McDonald to send a letter to rail companies regarding blocking the County Road 100 North (Lyles Station Road) crossing, which blocks school buses and other essential traffic, and also the County Road 150 East crossing. Roy Lynch told commissioners they should also make note that trains block CR350, CR450, CR250 and other roads. “It’s kind of like a circus out there,” he said.
• The board granted use of a 2,950-foot portion of County Road 450 East going north from Ind. 64 as a haul road for Peabody Coal for five years, with a five-year extension option.
Members are also working on a similar road use agreement with Enterprise Texas Eastern Pipeline for a 7,410-feet section of County Road 950 East running south of Ind. 64 near Oakland City.
• Gibson County Economic Development Coalition CEO Paul Waters reported the renovations of The Business Center for co-working space are largely complete, and an open house event is planned in mid-June.
• Commissioners signed a resolution with Warrick County for back-up prisoner keep for male inmates not eligible to be housed in the Indiana Department of Correction facilities. Sending prisoners to Warrick County for holding would cost $35 per day, and Gibson County would be responsible for medical costs and transportation, under the agreement’s terms.
• The board awarded a $665,400 bid to Blankenberger Brothers Construction to replace a county bridge on County Road 100 West. The company was the sole bidder for the project.