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Posey Co. Area Plan Commission modifies, passes zoning amendment

After a nearly four hour meeting Monday night, the Posey County Area Plan Commission voted to pass an amendment to the county’s existing zoning ordinance which could regulate wind and solar farms.

The ordinance has been the center of controversy for many months. A public hearing was held last Wednesday where a few hundred people showed up to voice their concerns of the amendment which was only in draft form at the time.

Some have argued the proposed wind farm project could put hundreds of thousands in danger, while others say it could be an economic development boost.

The ordinance is a lengthy 27-page document. It included sections such as the approval process, construction and development standards, plus setbacks and height restrictions.

Many of those topics were discussed at length Monday evening.

Although the meeting was not a public hearing, we did hear from both RWE representatives, along with those leading PoCo Wind Safety and Rights after members of the commission called them to the podium for clarification on various issues.

Multiple modifications were made to the amendment and most were passed unanimously after discussions.

One concern continues to be shadow flicker and it came down to a close vote, perhaps the tightest of the night. But, the final decision was to recommend limiting shadow flicker to zero for non-participating land owners.

According to Posey County leaders, protecting the National Weather Service Doppler radar continues to be top concern among citizens. It sits in Owensville in Gibson County. The commission changed language in the ordinance that a developer must mitigate radar interference instead of “lessen it.” And, it now goes on to read, no turbines could be built in the no-build zone, which is about a 2-and-a-half mile radius around the radar.

“We’ve, as a company, committed to not building in the no-build zone,” Karsen Rumpf, with RWE, stated to the commission.

The Area Plan Commission is a recommending body. Now that the ordinance is finalized and approved, it will be sent on to cites and towns within the county where leaders will take it to a vote.