Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

February 21, 2013

Tipton BZA alternate resigns

Commissioners seeking yet another replacement.

By Ken de la Bastide
Tribune enterprise editor

Tipton — The Tipton County commissioners must find another volunteer to serve as alternate on the Board of Zoning Appeals, which will consider the conditional use permit for the proposed Prairie Breeze Wind Farm.

During a special meeting Wednesday, the BZA voted to postpone the scheduled hearing on the request from juwi Wind, which had been set for this coming Monday. No new date has been established, but the hearing will take place sometime within the next 21 to 45 days.

Prior to the Wednesday meeting, John Law, named as an alternate by the commissioners Feb. 11, informed Steve Edson, planning director, that he couldn’t hear the conditional use permit because of a possible conflict.

Edson said Thursday that Law is in a partnership with his brothers on some property in Clinton County that was leased to AES, which proposed to build a wind farm in western Tipton County and eastern Clinton County in 2010.

AES sold its leases to E.ON Climate & Renewables, which is operating the Wildcat Wind Farm in eastern Tipton County.

Law told Edson that E.ON might try to lease the land in Clinton County, and he didn’t want to serve as the alternate on the juwi Wind request.

“We’re trying to have a high standard,” Edson said of the BZA members who will hear the permit request.

Although Law informed Edson of his decision before the Wednesday meeting, BZA members were not informed.

“If I thought the board was not indicating it was going to grant the continuance, I would have informed them of Law’s decision,” he said.

Had the Monday hearing not been continued, Edson said, the commissioners would have appointed a new alternate on Monday.

Juwi Wind is proposing to invest $300 million in Prairie and Liberty townships for a 150-megawatt wind farm, with up to 94 wind turbines.

Mike Cline, president of the Board of Commissioners, said the intent is to have a replacement named on Monday. He said since he recused himself from voting to appoint two alternates Feb. 11, Commissioners Phil Heron and Joe VanBibber are working on finding a replacement.

Heron said he learned after the BZA meeting Law stepped down.

“I would like to be able to name a replacement on Monday,” he said. “It won’t be easy.”

Regular BZA members Bill Peters, Mark Noble and Jack Hughes all indicated they would not be able to hear the request for the conditional use permit because of conflicts of interest.

The Plan Commission named Carroll Cohee as an alternate and the commissioners named Law and Neal Planalp as alternates.

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Kokomo Tribune eEdition, or our print edition