December 19, 2019

Wind farm moratorium voted down by commission

By Phyllis Zorn, Staff writer | Marion County Record | Dec. 19, 2019 |

Although commissioner Dianne Novak is still sticking to her guns, a moratorium on wind farm development failed Monday on a vote of three to one, with commissioner Jonah Gehring not casting a vote in favor or against.

County counsel Brad Jantz presented a proposed 120-day moratorium resolution at Monday’s meeting. Novak questioned the resolution having that short of a time frame. Jantz said the time frame could be longer if commissioners wanted.

“There’s nothing magic about that 120,” Jantz said.

Marion economic director Randy Collett chimed in on the discussion.

“I would just mention to you the city would not be supportive of this resolution,” Collett said. “The city has its own planning and zoning commission and this would be an overreach.”

Commissioner Dave Crofoot said imposing a moratorium would be like putting up a sign saying the county does not want business.

Gehring said he’s in favor of population growth and he’d like to see more information about that.

“So are you in favor of a moratorium or not?” Novak asked.

“I’m neither in favor nor opposed,” Gehring said. “I just want more information.”

Novak said policies the county set in the past were not followed.

“That’s how we got here,” Novak said.

Novak said she wanted to pass a moratorium until the county could “fix the issues.”

Commissioner Randy Dallke moved not to pass a moratorium based on the planning commission having done a good job. Crofoot and commission chairman Kent Becker voted for no moratorium, Novak voted against, and Gehring did not vote on the measure.

After the vote, Novak claimed she’d made a motion that was not acted upon. County clerk Tina Spencer said Novak had not said her statement in the form of a motion.

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