A local ranch has filed suit against Marion County in an attempt to reverse wind energy zoning changes it alleges increase safety hazards.
“We’re concerned about the health, safety, and welfare of these and want to be sure it’s properly protected,” said Robert Titus, Wildcat Creek Ranch, LLC attorney. He declined further comment.
County commissioners amended the regulations in March by reducing the minimum distance between a wind turbine tower and a leaseholder’s residence from 1,320 feet to 500 feet. The petition filed by Wildcat Creek Ranch alleges the change unreasonably increases safety risks to property owners in and around wind farms.
The suit also targets the process used to amend the regulations. The petition alleges commissioners failed to consider the impact on nearby property owners, and did not follow established rules regarding the process for amending the regulations. It further alleges the change was a direct result of “prejudgment” by commissioners, and that the process was “not fair, open, or impartial.”
A ruling in favor of Wildcat Creek Ranch would reverse the zoning change and reinstitute the 1,320-foot minimum distance requirement.
Design modeling for turbine placements for the Doyle Creek wind farm project prompted the regulatory change.
County attorney Susan Robson declined comment.
“We don’t comment on pending litigation against the county,” she said.
The county has until May 6 to file a written response to the petition with the district court.