By Ken de la Bastide
Tribune enterprise editor
Tipton — A farmer from southeastern Tipton County has been named to hear the conditional use permit for the proposed Prairie Breeze Wind Farm.
The Tipton County Board of Commissioners on Thursday voted Robert Powell as an alternate to the Board of Zoning Appeals to hear the request from juwi Wind for a 150-megawatt wind farm in Prairie and Liberty townships.
The company is proposing a $300 million investment to the west of Sharpsville and the placement of up to 94 wind turbines.
As he did previously, Commissioner Mike Cline recused himself from voting on Powell’s appointment. Commissioners Phil Heron and Joe VanBibber approved the appointment.
Powell is a former member of the Tipton County Plan Commission that served on that commission when it first established the wind farm ordinances for Tipton County.
Steve Edson, director of the Tipton County Plan Commission, said Powell had not signed a conflict of interest document, but was willing to sign one.
The document states that Powell has no conflict and is able to render an impartial decision on the conditional use request.
Powell joins Neal Planalp as the second alternate to the BZA appointed by the commissioners. Planalp and John Law were appointed alternates last month, but Law withdrew because of a potential conflict of interest.
At the time of his withdrawal, Law said his family owns property in Clinton County and they had signed leases for the placement of wind turbines with another wind energy company.
The BZA will consider the conditional use permit at 5 p.m. March 20 in the auditorium of the Tipton High School.
Powell joins Planalp, Plan Commission alternate Carroll Cohee and BZA members Jerry Acres and Frank Zickmund to hear the request from juwi Wind.