|10/2/2018 12:53:00 PM
Lewisville Town Council takes a stand against wind turbines, joining Sulphur Springs
Travis Weik, Courier-Times Reporter
The Lewisville Town Council took action late last week to protect the people who live in and visit their town.
Council members Justin Thompson and Patrick Saunders opened the special meeting in town hall Thursday evening. Member Richard Craig was not able to attend the meeting.
Thompson and Saunders passed an ordinance restricting Wind Energy Conversion Systems (WECS) in their area and agreed to ask the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to limit long-term parking on the highway going through town.
Thompson and Saunders voted 2-0 to adopt a new ordinance based on Indiana’s “Home Rule Law” and forbidding the construction of industrial or commercial wind turbines within a four-mile radius of the southern Henry County town.
According to Ordinance 092718, the town council believes industrial wind turbines “will constitute a danger to the health, safety, and/or welfare of the citizens of Lewisville, Indiana.”
The ordinance allows a private land owner to put up a wind turbine for personal use as long as it is shorter than 100 feet tall and produces less than 100 kilowatts a year.
Thompson explained that the council is stopping big wind energy companies from putting up big turbines anywhere near the town.
“We’re trying to keep the majority of the town happy and do what we think is right,” said Saunders.
Lewisville resident Marcus Allhands disagreed with the new ordinance.
“You’re going to make a lot of landowners unhappy,” Allhands said.
Allhands said Henry County towns are being regressive with their stance against wind farms interested in building here. He took issue with the overall local movement to keep industrial wind farms out of Henry County.
“There was a group or a movement that tried to get the county to outlaw them (wind turbines). They didn’t quite get that done,” Allhands said. “So now they’re going to the individual towns to get them to do it in place of the county.”
Allhands pointed out that “if you go four miles around every town in the county, you’ve eliminated the county as a whole.”
A round of applause and comments of “I’m all for that” and “Amen” may not have been the response Allhands wanted, but it’s the response his words elicited.
The council passed the new ordinance on first reading, voted to suspend the normal rules and voted a second time Thursday to put the wind turbine ban into immediate affect.
Lewisville joins Sulphur Springs as the second incorporated town in Henry County to pass a local ordinance banning large wind turbines beyond their municipal limits.
This is not the first time that the people of Lewisville have taken a stance against industrial wind projects that are looking to develop in Henry County, either.
In September 2016, the Lewisville Town Council passed a resolution to the Henry County government stating that wind farms are not welcome in their area. That resolution requests that the county commissioners not take any action to authorize the construction of wind farms near Lewisville.
The Lewisville Town Council also agreed Thursday to send a letter to INDOT asking them to implement one-hour parking in front of businesses along U.S. Hwy 40 in town.
U.S. Hwy 40 acts as Main Street in Lewisville. The town’s business district runs from 2nd Street to Market Street along Main.
INDOT regulates the highway and needs a letter from the town council before implementing any restrictions to the area.
Saunders and Thompson agreed to ask INDOT to impose 15 foot “no parking” restrictions from any intersection in the Lewisville business district. The letter will also ask for parking in front of Lewisville businesses to be limited to one hour from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The request stemmed from safety concerns about town residents being able to safely turn onto U.S. Hwy 40 off side streets. When vehicles are parked close to the intersection, it is sometimes difficult to see oncoming traffic.
Chuck Covey owns an antique store in the Lewisville business district. Covey also lives in the building. He took exception to the town’s request because he would not be able to park in front of his home during the day.
Thompson said the ordinance is trying to be fair across the board. Thompson pointed out that Covey has space behind his antique shop to park both the truck and trailer that he typically parks along the highway.
Thompson said the town is also looking to hire a town marshal who could help control speeding along the highway and through the side streets of town.