(The following was originally published in The Rochester Sentinel of Rochester, IN on Saturday, October 28, 2017.)
BY WESLEY DEHNE
Staff Writer, The Sentinel
A group of wind farm opponents have launched an online petition calling for stricter wind turbine setbacks in Fulton County.
The petition, hosted at gopetition. com, was launched last week and is linked on the Facebook page Fulton County Property Rights. More than 70 people have signed the petition, which calls for a wind turbine setback of 2,640 feet from a property line.
The present standard is a setback of 1.1 times the total height of a wind turbine from a property line and 1.5 times the height from a residential dwelling. For a turbine of 600 feet, that’s 660 feet from a property line and 900 feet from a residence. However, officials are revisiting those setbacks ahead of the proposed development of a wind farm project.
Renewable energy company RES has been contacting landowners to sign lease agreements for a wind farm that could bring 300 wind turbines to south Fulton County, northwest Miami County and northeast Cass County. In Fulton County there could be as many as 100 wind turbines south of County Road 400 South.
A setback of 1.5 times the total height of a wind turbine from a property line and 2 times the height from a residential dwelling are among several amendments to the county’s ordinance governing wind energy conversion systems being considered by Fulton County Commissioners.
The proposed new setbacks would require a wind turbine of 600 feet to be located 900 feet from a property line and 1,200 feet from a residence.
The contentious issue of setbacks will likelybe discussed during a public meeting slated 6:30-8:30 p.m. Nov. 9 at the Fulton Community Building. To allow time for conversation, doors will open at 5 p.m.
Commissioners organized the meeting to receive feedback from residents about wind energy development in the county.
Commissioner Bryan Lewis told The Sentinel the Fulton County Property Rights group and RES will have 10 minutes each to present. Representatives of financial consulting firm H.J. Umbaugh & Associates and law firm Barnes & Thornburg will also speak.
The firms, along with Area Plan Director Casi Cowles, will be given 15 minutes to present. Lewis said there will also be a sign-up sheet for anyone wanting to give a brief comment. The format is to alternate between supporters and opponents of wind farm development.
Lewis said there will be no vote taken that night by commissioners.