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March 18, 2013

Tipton mayor weighs in on wind farms

Havens: Land use more important than zoning

— TIPTON — For the first time since the wind farm developments in Tipton County began, Don Havens, mayor of Tipton has weighed in on the discussion.

During his prepared remarks in delivering the “State of the City” address on Thursday at Tipton High School, Havens said there must be a community conversation on what land use limits the wind industry sector should have placed on it.

“The city should facilitate a discussion regarding advisability of implementing further restrictions for the placement of wind farms in the planning jurisdiction,” Havens said of the newly-adopted comprehensive plan for the city.

Havens said he will ask county officials to refer the issue to the county plan commission because he believes Tipton will be impacted by land use decisions or the failure to make land use decisions.

“I believe it is imperative to the city of Tipton and the county of Tipton that land use and not zoning, now the case, be the tool to chart the future of wind powered generators of electricity in our county.”

Havens said there must be a community wide discussion on the future placement of wind farms.

Asked about the proposed Prairie Breeze Wind Farm in northwestern Tipton County, Havens didn’t specifically talk about the juwi Wind project, but expanded his comments on wind farms in general.

Havens said the Tipton Common Council has not taken a stance at this time. He said the city has zoning jurisdiction for an area two miles around the city limit.

“As proposed there are five different wind farms in Tipton County,” he said. “If it’s done piecemeal, we can stand and look out our window at an industrial development.”

Havens said no discussions have taken place but community input is needed.

“This could shut out other opportunities for development,” he said of a wind farm development close to the Tipton city limits. “I would push the county plan commission to hold hearings to begin that discussion.”

Since the city of Tipton comprises most of Cicero Township, Havens said residents must collaborate and partner on what the township will look like in the future.

During the address, he said it was imperative the city and county work together to extend the reach of the Northgate Industrial Park and to connect it to Division Road. Havens said Northgate is the only area of prospective light industrial development that benefits the city and county.

“Last year when Wildcat [wind farm] was being developed, it never occurred to me that this might be an issue,” Havens said of future wind farm development. “This will be a city issue in the near future.”

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