Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

October 12, 2013

BZA has until Monday to file wind farm response

Hamilton Co. judge named to hear case.

By Ken de la Bastide Kokomo Tribune
Kokomo Tribune

---- — TIPTON — The Tipton County Board of Zoning Appeals has until Monday to file its response to a lawsuit seeking judicial review of decisions impacting the proposed Prairie Breeze Wind Farm.

The BZA was given until Monday to file its response with the Tipton Circuit Court. But, with the Tipton County Courthouse closed on Monday, the response is expected to be filed after the deadline.

Tipton Circuit Court Judge Thomas Lett has recused himself from hearing the case and attorneys for the BZA and juwi Wind, the developer of the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm in northwestern Tipton County, have agreed to name Hamilton County Superior Court 3 Judge William Hughes to act as a special judge.

The Tipton County Plan Commission has hired Zionsville attorney Michael Andreoli to represent the BZA and chairman Jerry Acres.

The Tipton County Commissioners on Monday approved a $5,000 payment to Andreoli. Last month, the county council approved an appropriation of $10,000 to pay the legal costs for the BZA.

Juwi Wind filed a civil suit seeking a judicial review of the BZA’s decision to issue a permit with conditions outside the county’s established wind ordinance. The BZA imposed a 1,500-foot setback from property lines for the placement of wind turbines and required creation of a property value guarantee plan.

The complaint alleges the BZA exceeded its authority in placing the conditions on the wind farm development.

The company also contends the BZA’s July 31 meeting was in violation of the Indiana Open Door law because the board voted not to consider a modification of the setback requirement, which was not posted on the agenda.

Leaseholders with juwi Wind filed a lawsuit against the BZA, the company and the Tipton County Citizens for Responsible Development making the same allegations.

The proposed Prairie Breeze Wind Farm would be a $300 million investment in Tipton County for the placement of as many as 92 wind turbines.