Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

August 4, 2013

Public Eye

Left out of the loop

Juwi Wind officials were taken aback this past week, when the Tipton County Board of Zoning Appeals denied the firm’s appeal of a March BZA decision.

The wind company’s expectation, going into the meeting, was a routine discussion of procedures for a future public hearing.

Instead, the BZA members voted 3-1 against juwi’s request for setback modifications.

One wonders if the BZA members weren’t happy about receiving an agenda just hours before their meeting.

Board members weren’t involved in an earlier conference call between attorneys for opponents and proponents of the wind farm, Tipton County Attorney John Brooke and Planning Director Steve Edson.

The guidelines for the meeting were hammered out during that call. It was decided the BZA would consider juwi’s setback request.

But BZA President Jerry Acres opened the meeting by stating he had concerns about the procedure to consider juwi’s request. The vote was taken, to the cheers of wind farm opponents in the audience.

Few options remain

The options remaining for juwi Wind to go forward with the proposed $300 million Prairie Breeze Wind Farm are dwindling.

When the conditional use permit was approved with a condition that turbines be located 1,500 from the property line of adjacent property, the company indicated that would make it difficult to start the wind farm.

Now that the BZA has held fast to that standard, juwi can either try to build with fewer wind turbines, or to file suit, hoping a judge will order the BZA to consider modifications.

Or juwi can decide to abandon the project.

Company officials were considering their legal options as of this weekend.

Scared off the customers

Kokomo head shop proprietor Gary Elvers is what some would call a rebel. Police call him a drug dealer. According to Elvers, he’s been prosecuted five times — three times in Cass County and twice in Howard County — for selling bongs, pipes, “spice” and “bath salts.” So far, prosecutors haven’t been able to make anything stick, although he still has nine pending charges in Howard County.

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