The DeWitt County Board has voted down the proposed wind farm in the northwest corner of DeWitt County.
The Alta Farms II wind project proposed by Tradewind Energy needed seven votes for approval, however, the board voted 6-5-1 Thursday night at a special meeting to follow the recommendation of the Zoning Board of Appeals last month. This is how the vote played out....
As was laid out by DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg leading up to the special meeting, each side was allowed approximately 30 minutes to address the board. Local business owner Mariah Anderson pointed out the impact the wind farm would have on the agri-business community of DeWitt County.
JaneAnn Thomas is a landowner in rural DeWitt County but does not own property within the project however supported the project. She points to the financial impact it would have on DeWitt County and called a 'no' vote "a flat squirrel on the road".
Leading up to the vote, a series of amendments to include several conditions was proposed by Terry Ferguson and ultimately approved. While Ferguson proposed the amendments and voted in support of them, he ultimately voted no for the application.
Board members voting against the application were Tilley, Ennis, Ferguson, Houser, and Matthews. Those voting in favor were Newberg, Redman, Wickenhauser, Reece, Pruser, and Nimmo and Ritter abstained from voting.
Following the meeting, Andrea Rhoades, leader of the group Residents Against Wind Farms in DeWitt County says they were very pleased with the Board for following the recommendations of the RPC and ZBA and listening to the community.
Rhoades says they were confident going into the meeting but were nervous leading up to the vote.
Rhoades says the work of the group is not done. She feels there is still a lot of work to be done on the ordinances, which she calls out of date and not strong enough. She says other wind farms may want to come to the area and recognizes the growing possibility of solar farms coming to the area.
While representatives from Tradewind Energy were unavailable for comment following the meeting, they released the following statement:
"We’d like to thank the DeWitt County Board, the Regional Planning Commission, and the Zoning Board of Appeals for their time, consideration, and dedication listening to the public on this important project. Although we did not get the outcome our supporters and participating landowners wished to see, we would like to thank them for all of their hard work in developing this project. We continue to believe that the Alta Farms Wind Farm is a unique opportunity for DeWitt County to increase funding for their schools, put money into the tax base to have better infrastructure, create good paying jobs, and lower taxes. At this point, we plan to reassess the situation and our options moving forward."