Wind energy topic revisited at County Plan commission

PLYMOUTH - The winds continue to swirl around Marshall County government with the issue of wind energy still being debated.

Proponents of wind energy came before the Plan Commission at their meeting Thursday evening to stand against the banning of the wind energy systems. Their point of view is that the issue is a property rights issue.

“It just goes against the grain to be told what you can and can’t do on your own land,” said Jerry Gurtner, a farmer from the Bremen area.

He was joined by several other farmers - none of whom had signed agreements with wind energy companies - adding that they felt the policy was short sighted and limited future options for the county.

A back and forth exchange has been ongoing between the Plan Commission, which acts only in an advisory capacity, and the Marshall County Commissioners, with whom the final decision lies.

Earlier deliberations by the Plan Commission blew the ball back into the Marshall County Commissioners court by rejecting the Commissioners request to ban wind energy systems in Marshall County.

Instead, the Plan Commission sent a revised ordinance to the Commissioners regarding Wind Energy Conversion Systems to allow for increased setbacks and restrictions that had been asked for by a citizens group opposing the wind farms in Marshall County. These concerns were based on concerns for public safety, the environment and aesthetics.

The Commissioners - in turn - had asked the Plan Commission to return a revised ordinance that would ban commercial wind farms from the county entirely - a plan they said they would endorse.

The Plan Commission had a mind of their own, rejecting the motion to approve the Commissioners request and placing the issue on the Commissioner's shoulders at their upcoming meeting to decide on the issue.