Plan now for 'Pumpkintopia Parade'

By Diane Strand DEKALB - DeKalb County Planner Paul Miller wants to get ahead of the windmill rumors flying around the countryside. DeKalb County officials have not been approached about a wind turbine energy operation, and has not cut a deal with anyone, Miller said. However, Miller said he does expect the county to be approached sometime in June. The county board's last encounter with a wind energy proposal was in 2002-03. At that time, following several open hearings and intense study by county board members, a proposal was developed that was the most restrictive ever accepted by FPL Energy. The operation was not installed, however, because the energy company had not worked out a buyer for the wind energy to be produced. FPL Energy was very accommodating in the agreement. For example, one individual on property involved was prone to seizures, which can be triggered by rapid patterns of light and shadow created by rotating blades of a windmill at a certain time of the day. The company was willing to turn off the turbine on that farm at a specific time of the day. One advantage wind energy brings to counties and school districts are the additional taxes paid by the company for use of space for each wind turbine. It also provides an alternative and renewable energy source. One of the drawbacks facing proposed wind operation in the past has been landowners who don't want wind turbines placed on their property. County Board Member Pat Vary told members of the planning and zoning committee last week she recently visited a wind turbine operation south of DeKalb County and said residents there had very few complaints. “The farm couple were very pro wind and pro farm,” Vary said. Opponents argue that 350- to 400-foot wind turbines pose a hazard to birds, potentially create noise and decreased property values, while disrupting an otherwise pastoral view.

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