Business information

Iowa Public Information Board dismisses turbine complaints against Tama County

by Jared Strong

The Tama County Board of Supervisors did not violate state open meeting laws as it faced backlash from an anti-wind group in recent months, the briefing board ruled Thursday. Iowa public.

A member of this group, Janet Wilson, alleged that supervisors stifled public participation, tried to prevent residents from recording their public meetings and refused to discuss the turbine ordinance with coalition members. as an item on the agenda.

She sought a board order to force supervisors to play video of their meetings, move meetings to a bigger venue that can accommodate more people, keep better notes from meetings, and reprimand supervisors for perceived lack. notice of their May 16 meeting, during which the supervisors reaffirmed a zoning ordinance that governs the construction of wind farms.

This meeting is subject an ongoing trial that another member of the Tama County Against Turbines coalition, Richard Arp, sued the supervisors to prevent the construction of new wind turbines in the county.

Arp alleges that the supervisors’ vote in May violated the state’s open meeting laws because there was insufficient notice that the council would vote on the ordinance and failed to keep public hearing to solicit input from residents, which is often required for zoning ordinances. He wants a judge to temporarily halt construction of new turbines in the county.

The supervisors, through their attorney, dispute the claims and argue that the trial was too late, according to court documents. The lawsuit was filed June 23, more than 30 days after the May 16 vote, which supervisors say violates a limit imposed by Iowa law. They further contend that Iowa law gives them immunity from such claims.

It is not known when the lawsuit will be resolved. The guards asked for a dismissal. A hearing to consider a timetable for the way forward is scheduled for the end of August.

The coalition formed in March in response to a proposed wind farm which, combined with another recent wind farm being built, has the potential to triple the number of wind turbines in the county to more than 180. Members of the group have regularly attended the meetings of the supervisors since April and asked the board to:

  • Increase the minimum distance between new wind turbines and buildings and property lines.

  • Further limit turbine noise.

  • Consider input from residents whose homes are in the shadow of turbines, who may suffer from slow stroboscopic effect.

  • Relegate wind farms to less productive cultivated land.

The three supervisors voted unanimously to recodify their existing wind turbine ordinance in May.

Members of the Iowa Board of Public Information voted unanimously Thursday to dismiss Wilson’s complaints against supervisors.

The supervisors, in their response to his complaints, said that they had in fact not restricted the recordings of the meetings and that they had not planned such attendance for one of them, whereas about 90 people were present but there were 45 seats.