WIND: Plan Commission rejects wind changes

COLUMBIA CITY – After a split vote from the Whitley County Planning Commission members, the County Commissioner’s suggested changes to the proposed Wind Energy Ordinance were rejected Wednesday.The motion was made to approve the County Commissioner’s recommended changes, but it did not carry since a majority of five votes was needed.Dave Schilling made an abstention. Voting for the approval of the motion was Brandon Forrester, Paula Reimers, George Schrumpf and Doug Wright. Voting against the motion was Dave Addison, Bill Auer, John Johnson and Kenny Kerch.Beginning discussion on the topic during the meeting, David Sewell, executive director of planning and building, reminded the Plan Commission that the County Commissioner’s proposed changes regarded changing setbacks of participating land owners and non-participating land owners to a distance of 2,640 feet.County Commissioner George Schrumpf made a statement concerning the reasons for the changes.“On behalf of the commissioners, we want to thank the plan commission and its members for the many hours you’ve spent,” said Schrumpf. “We would like to let you know that we are asking for the setback changes in an attempt to provide additional safety and health protection.”Sewell told the Plan Commission members they had two options, either to approve or disapprove the County Commissioner’s proposed changes.“At this point in time, no further changes can be made,” said Sewell. “No suggestions, nothing else can be added or taken away from the ordinance. You are to look at it as it has been submitted back from the county commissioners.”The Plan Commission’s rejection of the changes will go back to the County Commissioners as a recommendation. The County Commissioners will have 45 days to take action and vote to re-approve their decisions or take the Plan Commission’s recommendation.