No major ordinance change suggested for wind turbines

PLYMOUTH — After being tabled for a month, when presented with an array of additions and amendments to current ordinances, the Marshall County Plan Commission decided not to take any action that would essentially keep wind turbines and farms out of the county.

With attorney Steve Snyder, Syracuse, representing, a group of concerned citizens drafted a series of changes to current ordinances in the county regarding wind turbines.

They ranged from sound issues to setting longer distances from property lines, churches, schools and more.

After more than 2. 5 hours of discussion, the plan commission mostly went with the recommendations of Area Plan Director Ralph Booker and made some tweaks to current ordinance without any sweeping changes.
And since the plan commission is simply a recommending body, the final decision will come to Marshall County Commissioners.

Booker said he would try to get the matter in front of the commissioners at their March 18 meeting.

The plan commission did approve suggesting to the commissioners that there be a half mile setback from areas zoned L-1 or T-1 in the county.
There was some back and forth between Booker and Snyder on whether language about municipal areas should be excluded.

Booker contended that the county had no jurisdiction over areas like Plymouth, Culver and Bremen. Snyder contended that when it came to issues like zoning it didn’t matter.

The plan commission chose to omit several recommendations from the citizens group like one that would create a half mile setback from a wind system and any residence where one is located.

Several times when introducing proposals, Booker noted that some of the more restrictive ones would essentially make wind farms impossible in Marshall County.

As the commission went through and voted not to give positive recommendations on some of the more big ticket items, the crowd grew loud at times and made sarcastic comments as Booker gave his recommendation.

Things bubbled over when one woman spoke out during the meeting.

Plan Commission President David Dinius stated at the beginning of the meeting that the public wouldn’t be heard from.

He cited that the Jan. 24 meeting had public comment.

“You can kick me out if you want,” said the woman when Dinius told her to be quiet.

After complaining that the commission wasn’t listening to the citizens, she took aim at Booker.

“I want to know why you’re king,” she shouted at Booker.

Dinius and others on the board stated that their job was to serve all citizens in Marshall County and not just some. He noted that many in the audience were from Culver.

“You complain about noise,” said Dinius. “Have you heard the sound your motor boats make? You argue aesthetics. Yet you build bigger and wider homes that block the lake view from others.”

Plan Commission member Robert Yoder was outspoken in his opposition to sweeping changes to the ordinance.

Yoder’s contention was that nobody could predict what the technology of wind turbines would be in the future.

The plan commission discussed issues like sound and abandonment issues for wind farms but didn’t give any positive recommendations to major changes.