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The Whitley County Plan Commission is bracing for a public meeting tonight that could make last monthâ€™s hotly-debated forum on wind farms seem like a friendly game of patty-cake.
On Oct. 20 the commission met with the intention to approve an ordinance designed to regulate wind-driven power plants in the county.
The board at that time decided to table the decision for a month, make a few changes to the ordinance and return in November to reconsider the proposal.
If recently-distributed flyers and e-mails by a county resident is any indicator, tonightâ€™s meeting could be far more volatile than the last.
Stanger, who listed himself as a concerned citizen of Whitley County, produced and distributed a four-page flyer condemning â€śwind utility power plantsâ€ť and sent e-mails to The Post & Mail, county planner Dave Sewell and the countyâ€™s board of commissioners.
The e-mail was also sent to John Doster of Wind Capital Group, a company that has shown interest in installing windmills in the county.
In the e-mail, Stanger claimed to have more than 1,000 signatures of citizens calling for a moratorium on wind farms and added that a lawyer had been hired.
The plan commission is meeting in executive session one hour prior to the regular meeting to discuss what it calls â€ślitigation that has been threatened.â€ť
Stanger said he expects a large turnout at tonightâ€™s 7 p.m. meeting in the countyâ€™s government center and had a pointed remark aimed at Doster.
â€śWind Capital Group, go away. We do not want you here,â€ť Stanger wrote.
Stanger added that while he and others are not opposed to harnessing the power of wind, opponents to the wind farms have a big issue with one item of the proposed Whitley County Wind Ordinance, which is up for approval at tonightâ€™s meeting.
The issue â€” setbacks.
The original draft of the ordinance called for a minimum setback of 1,500 feet from a windmill or tower to the dwelling of any non-co-applicant, or resident that has no financial interest in the project.
According to Sewell, the ordinance was changed from its original setback to 1,200 feet. Detractors are calling for a setback of 2,500 feet.
â€śIn my opinion (and some others that I know), simply put the setback in the WECS (Wind Energy Conversion System) to 2,500 feet from any property line, and the right thing will have been done,â€ť Stanger wrote.
This setback would be even greater than if the 1,500 setback had been changed to that distance since the amended setback from 1,500 to 1,200 feet refers to a dwelling. The proposed setback to a property line currently stands at 1.1 times the height of the tower or windmill at its highest point.