03/19/13 A couple years ago, Florida based NextEra was proposing to install 70 some commerical wind turbines in Marshall and Fulton Counties.  Their project caught the eye of many concerned citizens and an effort was made to educate the citiznes of both counties on the issues other communites have experienced with commercial wind farms.

The Marshall County Commissioners held a public hearing Monday on proposed changes to the Wind Energy Conversion System portion of the Zoning Ordinance.  The suggested changes are from the grass roots group called “Concerned Property Owners of Marshall County” presented by Sycaruse attorney Steve Snyder.

County Plan Director, Ralph Booker presented amendments to the wind ordinance that were approved by the Plan Commission. Setbacks in a Lake Zone and in Rural Residential zoning was at 1,000 feed but Concerned Citizens suggested and the Plan Commission agreed to extend the set back to a half mile.  In addition the Plan Commission recommeded a set back of a half mile from the home of any non-participating land owner, from any public park, school or church building and from any river.   

About 75 concerned citizens attended the public hearing.  Snyder spent more than a half hour reviewing the changes he had proposed to the County Plan Commission, the changes the plan commission approved and the ones where a compromise was approved.

Cathy Clark, Executive Director of the Lake Maxinkuckee Environmental Council talked about the protection of the 10 bald eagles who are living in the area.  She also talked about the large number of Sand Hill Cranes.  One thing she pointed out was the population per square mile compared to other counties who have turbines. 

Barbara Shafer read a letter that was in the Kokomo Tribune last month.  The writer said there are no more deer, the wireless internet doesn’t work and they even have issued with their cell phones.  The writer urged people to take action against the commercial wind farms.  

An “old CPA,” Charlie Myers suggested the commissioners use business planning and look at core values and principals when making their decision on the proposed amendments to the wind ordinance. 

  Travis Dexter who lives on 16C Road brought a repuclia wind turbine to show the commissioners the low frequency and ultrasounds associated with health issues caused by the turbines.  He urged the commissioners to uphold the half-mile setback and to consider lowering the noise level from 45 DBA to 35 DBA.         

The public hearing lasted about 90 minutes at which point the commissioners tabled the matter to review information presented and will consider the zoning changes at their May 6th meeting