POSEY CO., Ind. (WFIE) - Posey County’s Area Plan Commission has drafted an ordinance regulating wind turbines, which has citizens split on the controversy.
About 30 minutes before the meeting started Wednesday, a line of several dozen people had already formed as they waited to get inside. The crowd was met by a large law enforcement presence. All bags brought inside were checked at the front door.
Hundreds of concerned citizens filled the rows inside Posey County’s 4-H Center.
The meeting was a public hearing over a zoning ordinance draft that could regulate a proposed wind turbine project.
“I feel the proposed setbacks are not great enough, especially non-participating landowners,” explains Posey Couty resident Zach Helfert.
The first speaker of the night was Wind Development Manager for RWE Renewables Karsen Rumpf.
He told the crowd the company estimates over 30 years, the project could generate $30 million in commercial tax revenues. This money could be used around the county on things such as broadband access or new ambulances.
“We estimate a minimum of $12 million going to North Posey High School over 30 years," Rumpf explains to the crowd. "It is my hope these funds will be used for high teacher salaries, improvements to classrooms, and innovative training courses focused on engineering and technology.”
While some support the project moving forward, others feel that it must be stopped.
One group opposed is Po-Co Wind Safety and Rights.
Members tell us the proposed ordinance lacks protection. They are concerned about setbacks they say are unsafe and have issues with shadow flicker, noise, loss of property values, and no guaranteed protections for the National Weather Service Doppler radar.
“The residents that rely on advanced warning of our Doppler radar deserve absolute assurance it will be protected," Sarah Newton stated. "For protection of the public’s health and safety, amend the proposed wind ordinances to not allow any wind turbines in the no-build, mitigation or consolation zone.”
The area plan commission is set to take this ordinance to a final vote on Monday.
RWE says to date they have already invested more than $3 million in this project. Roughly half a million dollars has gone toward landowner payments in Gibson and Posey counties.
This is a story we are following.