Company claims Montgomery County reneged on 2013 economic development agreement to build a wind farm in two northern townships
The company accusing Montgomery County in federal court of attempting to kill a planned wind farm could consider asking for the project’s 10-year tax abatement to be restored, a county councilman said Tuesday.
Sugar Creek Wind LLC sued the county and the board of commissioners last week, claiming the county reneged on a 2013 economic development agreement to build a wind farm in two northern townships.
After millions of dollars were spent developing the project, the suit claims, the county revoked the project’s property tax incentives, adopted rules making a building permit impossible and then rushed to pass a zoning ordinance when the company threatened to sue.
The county disputes Sugar Creek Wind’s complaints and said it would “vigorously defend” the suit.
With the company arguing the project would suffer “devastating financial consequences” without the tax abatement, councilman Mark Davidson said Sugar Creek Wind representatives could decide to request another economic agreement.
“The one that they had, it was written as time was of the essence and it has been almost 10 years,” Davidson said during the council’s regular meeting.
An attorney representing Sugar Creek Wind, Offer Korin, didn’t immediately respond to phone and email messages seeking comment on the company’s plans. The suit claims the county has “not cooperated” with efforts to enter into new agreements.
Council members rescinded the project’s economic development agreement in February, a move the company says came after the county’s “political stance” on the development shifted.
The council is directly mentioned three times in the 34-page suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana in Indianapolis.
Council attorney Rob Reimondo, who reviewed the complaint with the county’s legal representative, told members he expects the fiscal body to become a party to the case as evidence is gathered.
He said the case likely would be moved to state court and both sides may attempt to restart settlement talks before the judge rules. Mediations first began in August but are currently stalled, according to the suit.
“I can see another round of mediations on down the road before a final trial is set,” Reimondo said.
Korin didn’t immediately respond to questions about whether the company would be interested in more talks.