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Wind farm topic fills seats at meeting

Staff writer

All but one of the 15 seats was filled at Peabody City Council meeting Monday, as citizens turned out for discussion on the county’s proposed southern wind farm.

Some community members expressed concerns about the wind farm being outside the city’s zoning limit of one mile.

Since the population is not growing, Peabody cannot expand its city limits, Peabody mayor Tom Spencer said.

The zoning radius means the city cannot impede wind farm construction as long as the company has proper landowner approval.

“We’re not an expanding city, so we don’t project out three miles,” Spencer said.

The city could try bringing the matter to court, but that would be unwise because of Peabody’s unfavorable financial situation, councilman Travis Wilson said.

“Everybody in this room knows that they have more money than anyone in the county,” he said. “They spend it with whatever they need to. I’m just speaking in general; the city could fight it tooth and nail until going bankrupt 25 times and still not have enough money.”

Increased enrollment at Peabody’s schools sounds like a benefit of wind farm construction, but isn’t guaranteed, said Evan Yoder, Peabody resident and Hillsboro elementary principal.

“You would think there would’ve been an uptick in enrollment in our schools,” he said. “We had one student who was the son of a worker and enrolled at our school three months. That’s all we got.”

In other business, a water leak at 6th and Walnut Sts. in Peabody that opened Friday will be difficult to fix because of its proximity to the surface, public works supervisor Ronnie Harms said

“I don’t feel comfortable putting rock over,” he said. “We need six-to-eight inches of asphalt.”

Harms said he didn’t know if the leak was caused by traffic from the weight of the city’s garbage trucks.

He said the department would seek bids from APAC Shears and Kansas Paving. Councilman Travis Wilson suggested getting a bid from the company doing street work in Marion, Baker and Baker Construction, Inc. of Hutchinson.

Sand will get packed down if it is used to fill the hole. Councilman Jay Gfeller suggested putting up snow barricades.

“If we put rock in it’s going to sink and we’ll get into trouble,” Harms said. “It’s closed, and I’m worried by how close it is to the surface.”

The council also approved police chief Bruce Burke to test the city’s emergency sirens once every other month, which will ensure the city is aware when needs arise for repairs, Gfeller said.

“There are various municipalities who do different things,” he said. “It would just be nice to head these things off so we don’t have huge bills for repair all at once.”

According to Burke, the main siren at city hall had been struck by lightning and need to be fixed last week.

Burke said he will get a bid on an offer for refurbished sirens, and would like to replace some other parts.

“The end coder and telephone controller currently at the fire station came over on the Mayflower,” he said. “They are old.”

Last modified March 28, 2019

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