Citizens for the Preservation of Washington County hosted a community meeting last Wednesday, September 22 at the Akron Senior and Community Center to discuss the proposed wind turbine regulations in the county.
County commissioners and the Planning and Zoning Committee were invited to answer citizens’ questions, such as how close they would be to schools, how close they would be to the golf course and how close they would be to homes.
Approximately 50 residents were in attendance. Trent Twiss opened the meeting and the “Pledge of Allegiance” was recited. Twiss then turned it over to the Planning and Zoning Committee, who gave a brief run down on the time they spent coming up with the rules and regulations and a brief synopsis on what was decided and why. They said they got a lot of information from back east and states who have towers.
The meeting was then opened for questions and answers, although people spent most of their time with their frustrations against the commissioners. The commissioners could not attend the meeting because of legal reasons.
Planning and Zoning Committee member Rodney Palser said the committee really has no power. They can make up the rules and regulations, but the commissioners can either accept them or decide on something different. He said they invited the commissioners to their meetings, but because of advice from the county’s attorneys, the commissioners did not attend any meetings. Most of those who attended the meeting felt there was no transparency. Palser also felt the commissioners should come to the table and work out a compromise that all residents would feel was right.
Cheryl Miller said it is a major, major decision and that she would like to see our county remain like it is without the lights and noise from towers. She does not want it to turn into something resembling Denver. Everyone felt that this would affect the grandchildren and great grandchildren. Sally Strand spoke several times and read information from different sources. Former commissioner, David Foy, also spoke several times. It was suggested that this question be put on the ballot and let the residents of Washington County decide for themselves.
Palser said they had gone to other counties and very few had any rules or regulations on towers and lines. He said the committee had worked to protect both sides with residents who didn’t want them and those who did.
Dena Palser spoke several times against the towers and lines. She felt the ones who should be asked about this were the people who lived in Akron. She asked if they should talk to the people in Akron to get them to go to a commissioner’s meeting or sign a petition against the towers and lines. She also said maybe there should be a recall petition, although that wasn’t widely supported by those present. There was a lot of discussion by some who were present on aspects of what had already been discussed.
The school boards and administration of all the schools were invited. Y-W employee and Akron School Board member, Andy Molt, was asked about Y-W’s stance on towers and lines.
Molt said, “Y-W strives to be as neutral as possible. We have many people, businesses, etc. that we serve and we work for them and that is our main concern.”
Molt added there will be no more coal power plants and that renewable energy is going to become a reality for the country and is here to stay.
Mike Bower, Superintendent of Lone Star School, said, “We need to work with our finances and decide what is beneficial for our children.”
Talking to some of the people after the meeting, one gentleman said, “I think this was a lot of hypocrisy. When it was said that $800,000 is not a lot of money, I think most people would feel it is a lot of money. Also getting their information from back east, as Rodney Palser stated, is wrong. Back east is nothing like here in our area and their rules and regulations should be very different from what we need. I think some of the people are very selfish and greedy and are not really thinking about the little farmers and others.”
Some people walked out of the meeting, because of the way the information was presented and the feelings of those who talked.
Strand asked about mineral rights and if the commissioners had considered those. It was stated again that the commissioners are not treating the residents with respect or honoring them. The one problem is that there are a lot of people who either disagree or agree, but have not voiced their opinions.
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