As part of the requirement of implementing a new comprehensive plan for the county, public input was to be included in every step of the process, as outlined by the consulting firm of Houseal Lavigne Associates of Illinois.
An online survey was part of gathering public input, and this survey remained online until May 2013. The consultant was asked at the May Planning Commission meeting what dates of the responses from the survey he used. He said up to December 2012. When asked why the responses after that date were not used, he replied, “It was only a handful and it didn’t change the results.”
I obtained the results of the survey. In the comprehensive plan, its states 40 residents completed the online survey. Up to May 2013, 123 residents had completed the survey. Just 33 percent completed it at the end of 2012. The input of 67 percent of the residents was rejected, and their input was not included in the plan.
One question asks, “What types of development would you NOT like to see in Tipton County?” Overwhelmingly, 98 percent of the respondents stated they did not want wind farm development, and these responses were all in 2013. There was only one response in 2012, and it stated any development would be good. These 98 percent of responses were not included in the plan.
The Planning Commission has been presented with 52 complaint forms containing 168 unique complaints from citizens living in the Wildcat Wind Farm because the commissioners refused to accept these complaints. None of these complaints were even a consideration when developing the comprehensive plan. How can these complaints not be examined when, in the plan, it states concerns about preserving and enhancing the quality, character, safety, affordability and appeal of residential areas?
The Planning Commission majority consists of either wind turbine leaseholders, those who have family members involved with leases or those who work for a leaseholder. The one person who was concerned about the health and safety of Tipton County residents and voted against accepting the comprehensive plan was Helen Tragesser. Her recommendation of studying the complaints presented by the Wildcat Wind Farm residents was ignored by the majority of the Planning Commission, who want to push through their own agenda.
It is a sad time for Tipton County when the majority of residents’ voices are being ignored by elected and appointed officials. If they really believe they are representing the majority, then let us vote on this issue in the next election.