Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

April 9, 2013

Tipton imposes wind moratorium

Vote has no effect on Prairie Breeze development

By Ken de la Bastide
Tribune staff writer

Tipton — Tipton County will not accept any new applications for wind farm development through Oct. 1 or until the county’s wind ordinance is amended.

Steve Edson, director of the Tipton County Plan Commission, on Monday requested the Tipton County Commissioners vote to temporarily suspend receipt of new applications from wind farm developers for a conditional use permit.

The moratorium will not affect the juwi Wind conditional use permit approved by the Tipton County Board of Zoning Appeals last month for the proposed Prairie Breeze Wind Farm or placement of meteorological towers.

The moratorium will remain in place until Oct. 1 or until the county’s wind ordinance is amended by the Plan Commission and approved by the commissioners. Commissioners Phil Heron and Joe VanBibber voted for the moratorium. Mike Cline abstained from casting a vote.

The Tipton County Citizens for Responsible Development (CRD) requested the commissioners and Plan Commission impose a moratorium on future wind farm development last month.

“I think they did the right thing,” CRD member Jeff Hoover said after the vote. “They stepped up and took a leadership role. They’re listening to their constituents.”

Tipton County officials also are working on the adoption of a new county comprehensive plan that will include wind farm provisions.

The comprehensive plan steering committee will meet at 4 p.m. Thursday at the Tipton County Foundation.

Edson said he has received no new applications since the juwi Wind hearing for Prairie Breeze. The BZA set two conditions for the development of the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm: a setback of 1,500 from property lines and development of a property value guarantee for non-participating landowners.

VanBibber asked Edson whether the comprehensive plan or changes to the wind ordinance would be complete by Oct. 1.

“I’m not confident we could be completed with the comprehensive plan by that date,” Edson said. “I’m being optimistic.”

Heron said the county needs to set a date for completion of the comprehensive plan and amendments to the wind ordinance.

Two members of the Tipton County Plan Commission resigned last week, Edson said. The commissioners must appoint two new members to replace Paul Julius and Mark Baird.

“We’re working on trying to appoint two new members by the April 18 Plan Commission meeting,” Cline said.