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Approximately 40 people attended the question and answer session with the Ringgold County Board of Supervisors Wednesday, May 31, 2023.
Chairman Colby Holmes opened the discussion by sharing the Board has talked with other supervisors in Adair, Adams, and Taylor counties about ordinances related to Wind Turbine development.
Typically, the first phase of large-scale energy projects begin with constructing transmission lines to feed power into the grid. Developers then start securing contracts with land owners to install wind turbines on private property near these large power lines.
“Ordinances are there to protect land owner’s rights,” stated Holmes. “There are two sides to this,” Holmes noted. While landowners in Ringgold County are currently free to do what they’d like, “neighbors also have rights too.”
“I like them,” stated Mike Kemery, who has 2 wind turbines on his property located in Clearfield, Iowa.
Kemery shared “There is a large powerline project currently being planned from the MO/IA state line north of Allendale, MO that would proceed north along Highway 169 towards Orient, IA.”
The majority of attendees respectfully aired concerns ranging from altering the landscape, safety concerns, destruction to roads and bridges, and deminishing land value.
Several land owners voiced that allowing wind turbine development would take away the peace, serenity and beauty that Ringgold County is currently known for.
Residents Kevin and Kendra Martin shared that they were searching for an intact rural community prior to moving to Ringgold County in 2020. “What we have is rare, this is what attracted us to move here,” shared Kendra Martin. “You could lose the community that is already here, why sell out?” Martin cautioned.
Landi Livingston shared that they just built a new facility for their annual cattle sale and her family is opposed to wind turbines because “pressure pulsations from wind turbines have been shown to affect cattle production.”
Livingston also stated that wind turbines have been known to cause sleep disturbances, headaches and dizziness, and the Board of Health in Brown County, Wisconsin has declared a local industrial wind plant to be a human health hazard.
During the town hall style meeting, the Ringgold County Board of Supervisors learned some Ringgold County landowners have already been approached by wind project developers. “They came to me and asked,” Charlie O’Kelley stated.
Livingston also gave a letter she received from a wind farm developer to the County Supervisors after the Wednesday meeting.
Some land owners asked if it was possible to do an outright ban.
County Attorney Clint Spurrier noted that the current Board of Supervisors may not allow them, but then the next group of supervisors voted in could change course.
Following the public input session, the Board of Supervisors took the first step forward in addressing potential wind turbine construction in Ringgold County at their regular meeting, Monday, June 5.
Ringgold County Attorney Clint Spurrier was on hand to field questions about establishing a temporary moratorium on the construction of wind turbines in the unincorporated areas of the county.
A temporary moratorium was then unanimously approved on the construction of wind turbines and/or related facilities in the unincorporated areas of Ringgold County.
The moratorium will remain in place until the board either passes a resolution placing a permanent moratorium, passes an ordinance, or recinds the temporary moratorium.
The board will begin drafting new ordinances addressing wind turbines, solar fields, and battery storage site development over the next couple weeks.
Once drafted, the Board of Supervisors will publish them for public comment, potential revisions will be considered, and then there will be several readings prior to voting on whether or not to put new ordinances in place.