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WIND: Setbacks, more proposed

January 12, 2012

Post and Mail photo / James Thomlison
Whitley County Commissioner George Schrumpf and Plan Commission member Paula Reimers

COLUMBIA CITY — Opinions on the wind turbine issue were blowing in opposite directions Wednesday when the Whitley County Plan Commission met to review and modify a proposed ordinance designed to govern the installation of such devices.

Though the commission reviewed most of a draft of the proposed ordinance, there are several as-yet unresolved issues — including that topic which helped draw more than 100 residents to the Wednesday night meeting — setbacks.

The set distance a turbine must be from a residence, property line, road, railway, overhead transmission line and other structures in the area has been the hot-button issue in Whitley County for more than a year.

Monday’s ordinance review originally had the distance for non-applicants set at a minimum 750 feet from the property line, or 1,200 feet from the residence, whichever is greater.

Those numbers didn’t last long, as George Schrumpf immediately questioned the specifications.

“My concern is for the non-applicants. I’m not sure I agree with 1,200 feet,” said Schrumpf, noting that a neighboring county set its number at 1,000 feet, but the local wind company changed it to 1,500 feet. “To me there’s a reason for that. We have to look at that and be responsible with what we do.”

The final vote established 1,000 feet from a co-applicant residence with the option to waive the distance to make it shorter if the residence owner so chooses. A vote for 1,500 feet from the property line of a non-applicant took the majority.
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