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May 13, 2013

Wind farms dominate discussion

Work on Tipton County plan ongoing.

Tipton — The debate over wind farms dominated a standing room-only meeting Thursday meant to take comment on Tipton County’s comprehensive plan.

“We’re here to discuss the comprehensive plan, talk about growth and planning of trails in the county,” Tipton County Plan Commission President Jason Henderson said.

But from the start, it was wind farms that drew the most comments at the meeting at the Tipton County Foundation.

Numerous people spoke in support of and opposition to wind farm projects in the county.

Brian Key, a member of the Tipton County Citizens for Responsible Development, said any mention of wind farms should be removed from the comprehensive plan.

Opponents noted wind farms could harm the county and they would not help the county to attract new families.

Susan McKinney, who favors wind farms, said seven companies were interested in Tipton County because of the consistent winds.

“The wind farm revenue will help taxpayers in Tipton County,” she said. “It will help pay for improvements to Big Cicero Creek, improve roads, purchase school equipment and lower property taxes.”

Several people commented the county should allow wind farms in certain areas.

Planning Director Steve Edson said wind energy interest has been increasing in the county since work on the comprehensive plan began in 2012.

“Wind energy should be included in the comprehensive plan,” he said.

There were some comments on the overall comprehensive plan, several concerning the converting of U.S. 31 through the county into a limited access highway.

Heidi Freeman said she doesn’t want the road to become limited access because it will divide the county.

Matt Jarvis added it would increase the response time for emergency services if U.S. 31 was turned into a limited access highway.

John West said an intersection in the northern part of the county on U.S. 31 has to be included in the plan.

Lu Nash, who owns a farm that has been in her family since 1863 across from the Chrysler plant sought to keep the area around her property from being zoned for industry.

“I want my farm excluded from industrial zoning,” Nash said. “My neighbors want the area to remain agricultural. I can coexist with industrial development across the road.

“Once the industrial zoning goes into effect, I will have to sell my farms,” she said.

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