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Boone County officials propose new Wind Farm Regulations at public hearing

Public hearings for Wind Farm Regulations have been scheduled by the Boone County Zoning Commission throughout April.

The commission will host the first public hearing Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. at the Boone County Government Center.

Leaders will present new proposed regulations in regards to citizens who are considering being a part of the wind farm.

Boone County Resource Management Director, Bill Florea, says the department is looking forward to hearing the public’s comments in regards to the proposed regulations. Florea says the Planning and Zoning Commission has spent months working on the regulations and it’s looking forward to reaction from the public.

“This is the start of the public comment period, so what we’re looking for is to get comments from the public on those proposed regulations, whether they like them, whether they don’t like them, what we need to change about them,” said Florea.

Florea says they’ve received more people against the wind farms than for them.

“I think we’ve encountered more citizens that are against than for. At least the ones that have contacted us have seemed to have opinions against establishing wind farms in the county,” said Florea.

As many citizens in Harrisburg have voiced their concerns contracting with the company, German-based E.On, looking to partner with landowners in order to create a wind farm within Boone County.

Harrisburg citizens even created a Facebook group in 2019 in response to the news of the company looking to build the wind farm. Many citizens have shared other landowners’ experiences with signing contracts for their property to be used for the wind farm. Most comments and information shared on the page are negative experiences others have had with wind farm agreements.

Florea says there’s still conflicting information out there about tax revenue from these wind farms, as it could possibly increase revenue for the county.

“There’s some conflicting information about what happens with the tax revenue depending on whether it’s publicly or privately owned. Generally, other counties that have had wind farms established have seen an increase in revenue from them.”

The wind farms could decrease property value for some of those homes that are near the wind farms, which citizens have voiced concerns about.

“The thing that our regulations do though, is to require an economic cost-benefit analysis to sort of balance those positive impacts against what some of the negative impacts could be too. Which could include reduction in property value for residential properties that are situated close to where these farms are proposed for,” said Florea

The first public hearing meeting for the proposed Wind Farm Regulations starts Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 20 at Harrisburg High School.