NextEra and their team of paid experts gave the usual story of how great and beneficial wind energy would be for the county. The benefits ranged from the county and participating landowners receiving monetary rewards to “green energy” and to property values being not only unaffected but enhanced due to wind turbines. Their sound expert and their doctor both stated how the operation of modern turbines ran well within the current federal and state recommendations. Approximately 5 individuals spoke in favor of the project during the public comment portion of the meeting with only one believed to actually live in Rush County. The other four speakers were from different counties.
For the opposition presentation, Ted Hartke from Illinois spoke. Ted gave a very personal and powerful speech about actually living in the shadows of 500’ tall turbines. He described how he, his wife and two children started to have issues sleeping soon after the turbines around his home began operating. Ted and his family eventually moved all of their beds into the living room because it was the area least affected by the sound (but even that did not work). The family eventually abandoned their 3,000 plus square foot home after 11 months and moved into a mobile home further away from the turbines. Ted talked about how his kids started to suffer at school due to sleep deprivation and how his marriage started to deteriorate. After his presentation, over twenty different individuals spoke against the project stating many reasons why they did not want the wind turbines. The reasons ranged from reduced property values, to concerns for the health, safety, and welfare of families, and the disagreement with the tax abatement for large companies.
When it came time for the BZA members to vote, they wisely decided to table the vote until the December 14th meeting. This meeting will be held at 7:30PM in the courthouse assembly room after the regularly scheduled APC/BZA meeting. During this portion of the meeting, no public input will be allowed. The BZA will have discussion among themselves and then each will cast their vote.