Wind farm debate revs up again
Landowners blew through a gust of grievances on un-built wind farms Monday years after they signed leases — or, in one case, after construction started on property where a lease was never signed.
One landowner, Sandy Sellers, told Marion County commissioners he never signed a lease, yet Windborne Energy still performed work on his property against his will.
Tom Britain called Windborne Energy’s business model a “Ponzi scheme.”
“It’s just a rotten deal the whole way,” he said. “We’re ready to quit looking at it and to move on from (the county’s) mistake.”
Jackie Hett said she signed a lease at the urging of her family, but she will not re-sign.
Two others, Nick and Lorrie Peter, said they had been stuck trying to build a house for seven years.
“We bought the property for the view,” Nick Peter said. “But who would want to look at turbines.”
Instead, he and his wife have been living in “an old house on the property that’s literally falling in on itself.”
Windborne Energy’s conditional use permit apparently has no expiration date.
Commissioners directed county counselor Susan Robson to research case law regarding conditional use permits without expiration dates. Robson said she would need two to three weeks.
Planning and zoning director Emma Tajchman told commissioners that a review of the project would be expensive and time-consuming for her office.
Rex Savage, owner of Windborne Energy, did not attend the meeting. He instead sent a letter that commissioner Randy Dallke read aloud.
“We had this second meeting for transparency, so he could come in and clean up the air,” commissioner Dianne Novak said.
Savage wrote that he would violate non-disclosure agreements with the involved companies if he provided further information.
“To me, the whole thing smells, quite frankly,” Novak said.