At their June 6 meeting, the Mitchell County Board of Supervisors discussed a temporary moratorium on commercial wind energy system construction.
“I’m not comfortable approving something like this until I have a little more research,” said Supervisor Mike Mayer.
“Personally I don’t think we need a moratorium for windmills,” said Supervisor Mark Hendrickson. “It sends a bad signal to other companies that may want to come to Mitchell County. I don’t think we need one at this time.”
“My point is I work for Mitchell County and Mitchell County people,” said Supervisor Jim Wherry. “I’m all for those interested coming here, but I represent the people of Mitchell County – not the wind turbine industry. This is not banning wind turbines, this is just saying that we want to have time to develop an ordinance that protects the people of Mitchell County, rather than just the wind turbine people coming in here and doing whatever they want to do.
“I’m not insinuating that’s what’s going to happen, but I work for the people of Mitchell County – personally I think this is for the people of Mitchell County. It was a year and a half to create an ordinance and it’s something that the Zoning Commission wanted to have happen. So I respect them.”
Supervisor Sydney Hartogh agreed.
“It’s giving us time to put an ordinance together,” she said. “That’s all it’s doing. We’re not banning anything.”
“But I don’t think they’re starting construction for a couple years or three years,” Mayer said.
“Then there’s no problem with this,” Wherry said.
“It should not be an issue,” Hartogh said.
“This would create a year and a half for people to gather their thoughts, bring it to the Zoning Commission, and the wind turbine people can also come to the Zoning Commission with their thoughts,” Wherry said. “That’s all this is doing, is just creating that time frame.”
Mitchell County Planning and Zoning Administrator Amanda Baer also weighed in with her thoughts.
“It takes a long time to be able to create a proper ordinance that’s not only going to represent the people of Mitchell County, but also (energy companies) – we want to work with them. We’re not prolonging any sort of process for them, because we were told that their process for permitting would take place in 2025 to 2026.
“They made everybody aware of that…. So I’m not sure why there is pushback on this moratorium at all. I am also not sure why, knowing how long that this has been here, we haven’t been able to do our research on specific topics.”
Baer finished by stating there will be time to script a policy agreeable to Mitchell County taxpayers and the wind industry.
The Board of Supervisors approved the moratorium on commercial wind energy system construction, with Hartogh, Wherry and Supervisor Todd Frein voting yes, and Hendrickson and Mayer voting no.
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