Wind

(PHOTO PROVIDED)

“Save Jasper County,” a passionate anti-wind group, is taking steps to try to ensure strict setbacks are made part of the county’s wind ordinance in the near future.

JASPER COUNTY — The locally based Facebook group “Save Jasper County” is asking for donations to meet the retainer fee to hire an attorney.

Though the group has not yet disclosed exactly what purpose the attorney will serve, that purpose will be part of the group’s overall goal of stricture setback laws against wind turbines.

“As a community, we have been told that safer setbacks may be in our future,” the group stated on Wednesday. “However, wind companies are continuing to sign up landowners and work behind the scenes. We know many of our neighbors feel unsafe, unheard and unprotected.”

The group stated it has spoken with an attorney, whose identity it would not reveal to the Rensselaer Republican. Members are now taking donations for the attorney’s retainer fee.

Beyond the basic information already posted on Facebook, the group would not disclose much, if any, specific details on its plans for the future.

“At this time, a group of concerned citizens are coming together to potentially save our families from the industrial power plants that will be placed recklessly near our homes,” stated member Heather VanDemark. “We are not confident that our commissioners are going to address all the issues with the current ordinance they just passed.

“We confidently made a choice and will not disclose any information about our attorney or what our plans are for the safety and privacy of our group’s interests and investors.”

Anyone who is interested in donating to this cause is encouraged to send a check or money order to P.O. Box 175 in Rensselaer; visit Kentland Bank, where an account has been opened; or donate online through Paypal. Specific payment information can be found by messaging the Facebook page’s administrator.

“Donations will remain anonymous for everyone’s privacy and you will be contacted with further information,” the group stated. “If you have any questions, feel free to message the page and we will forward your information to a member to contact you.”

Background

The county’s original wind ordinance was adopted 11 years ago. Then 13 months ago, that ordinance was amended to the version that was in place before the current discussions on the ordinance began.

On Nov. 26, 2018, the plan commission voted favorably on a new ordinance draft, which had been put together by a special committee. Afterwards, the commissioners made amendments to that new draft and voted to send it back to the plan commission for consideration.

Because the plan commission voted to disapprove what the commissioners sent back to them, the commissioners had to re-vote on the draft for it to become law. Otherwise, the unamended version which the plan commission submitted would instead become law.

After well over an hour of discussion and debate in the meeting room of the Jasper County Courthouse, the county commissioners passed a motion Feb. 11 to approve their draft of the county’s wind ordinance.

The motion notably passed in spite of a vote of disapproval from the Jasper County Plan Commission at the end of January.

Though the controversial ordinance has now become law, the commissioners said there will definitely be further changes to address local concerns in the near future, particularly regarding setbacks.