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Wind turbines generate comments at supervisors meeting

(Clarinda) – The return of public comments during Page County Board of Supervisors meetings brought back those questioning the county’s interest and preparations for wind turbines.

“I assume you are husbands, fathers, even grandfathers,” said Tracy Grossoehme during the Oct. 27 meeting. “I also assume that you are not in danger of living anywhere close to 1,500 feet from one of these turbines.”

A year old now, supervisors approved an ordinance for the construction and operation of wind turbines that have since popped up across northwest Missouri and in neighboring Taylor County. The county has received regular criticism since, as others have questioned the allowed distance to existing homes and properties, among other issues.

Supervisors did not respond to Grossoehme’s comments.

“I don’t feel that you started this journey to be malicious or to harm people. I try to give you the benefit of the doubt. I feel that more than likely you made a decision based on potential for monetary gain for the county, and that can be a great thing. I feel in many ways, though, as things have played out over the last year, that this has been done in less than honorable, upfront ways,” she said.

She asked why two public-comment meetings were held in December last year rather than having those meetings before the ordinance was approved. Another comment she made was accusing Supervisor Alan Armstrong of implying interest in an ordinance compromise that is acceptable to all, but later stated the ordinance will not change.

“Instances like this have led to much emotion from concerned citizens because they feel ignored and lied to,” she said.

During the Oct. 20 meeting, Ryan Urkoski asked the supervisors to upload a video of a meeting of people concerned with wind turbines onto the county’s website. On Oct. 27, he asked for an answer. Supervisor Chuck Morris said the county’s legal counsel did not approve including the video.

“That’s what I figured the answer was going to be anyway,” Urkoski said.

Ashley Urkoski reminded the supervisors of a comment made from a wind-turbine Zoom meeting attendant, sponsored the county that, “If they don’t like it (wind turbines), let them move out.” She did not name the person.

She was hoping the supervisors would confront the comment and state they do not want residents to leave. “Were you guys proud of a billion dollar company telling your citizens over a Zoom meeting to move out if they don’t like it?”

Urkoski was disappointed in the supervisors’ response.

“That’s disheartening to me,” she said. “Very disheartening.”

Supervisors suspended public comments after a Sept. 1 meeting. They said the comments were becoming too disrespectful.