Photo taken by Laura Ann Arnold with an iPhone.
August 29, 2013
BZA limiting of testimony halts meeting.
By Ken de la Bastide, Kokomo Tribune Kokomo Tribune
TIPTON – It appears likely the next battle over construction of the proposed Prairie Breeze Wind Farm in northwestern Tipton County will be in a courtroom.
The Tipton County Board of Zoning Appeals meeting Wednesday came to an abrupt end when BZA President Jerry Acres announced he was limiting testimony on a proposed property value guarantee.
The BZA granted a conditional use permit to juwi Wind in March for the Prairie Breeze development but added the requirement of a 1,500-foot setback from property lines and creation of a property value guarantee.
Acres said the board would only hear testimony concerning a property value guarantee and whether or not it was accessible to the BZA.
Mary Solada, attorney for juwi Wind, said the company was prepared to go forward with the plan they submitted, but also wanted to present testimony that a property value guarantee would not benefit the citizens of Tipton County.
Solada responded to a question from Acres that one of the options that would be presented was that a property value guarantee was not necessary.
“We’re prepared to explain why a property value guarantee does not benefit the citizens of Tipton County,” she said. “If we can’t present that testimony we’re being denied due process.”
Acres said the rules of the meeting were to hear testimony on a property value guarantee.
None of the four other BZA members commented in agreement or against Acres stance during the meeting.
Phil Ochs, the attorney for lease holders, objected to the limitation of testimony as denying his clients due process.
“Are you prepared to move forward with a property value guarantee?” Acres asked.
Solada said the bottom line is the company was prepared to present testimony on the rationale that the guarantee was not needed.
With that, Acres closed the meeting.
More information on the BZA meeting will be available in Friday’s Kokomo Tribune and the newspaper’s website at www.kokomotribune.com.