Turbines and Zoning Regulations Leads Iowa Farmer To File Lawsuit
When you drive through Iowa, especially through the farmland, you will probably see the rows of windmills. These windmills help place Iowa as a leader in wind energy production- producing 57 percent of the state's energy.
But not all windmills/windmill farms are met with open arms. When MidAmerican Energy announced its 120-turbine farm back in January residents in the area had their concerns. People are worried about the impact it will have on their view of the land and quality of life.
Another group in eastern Iowa that is trying to restrict where wind turbines are built is part of a lawsuit that has sued the Tama County Board of Supervisors about its state’s open meeting laws.
The Tama County Against Turbines coalition was formed back in March as a response to a proposed wind farm. This would triple the number of turbines in the county to more than 180 says Iowa Capital Dispatch.
Since April, coalition members have been attending the supervisor’s weekly meetings. St these meetings they have asked for zoning regulations along the lines of;
- Increasing the minimum distance between new turbines and buildings and property lines
- More restrictions on turbine noises
- Consider the input of residents whose homes are in the shadows of turbines
- Regulate wind farms to less-productive land
However, in May, Tama supervisors voted 3-0 to recodify the ordinance without making any changes. According to state law, reaffirmations like this one are required every five years, and the last tie the board in favor of the ordinance was in 2010.
A decision such as this was followed by a lawsuit filed by Richard Arp, a farmer in Clutier- an area where the latest wind project has been proposed.
In the lawsuit, Arp alleges that the May vote violated open meeting laws, saying insufficient notice of a board vote on the ordinance and that there was no public hearing to get input from residents.
According to Iowa Capital Dispatch, county officials declined to comment on the lawsuit.