Friday, August 24, 2007

Forcing Turbines on Landowners is Wrong

The following letter is submitted by Mary Barnes, a longtime Ellis County resident:

I have been reading The Hays Daily News Reader Forum and news articles regarding the conditional-use permit for an industrial wind plant submitted by CPV with great interest. You see, I live in the area slated for the conditional-use permit.

The comments regarding our need to lessen our dependency for fossil fuel are all true. But, what we absolutely need to recognize are the problems associated with the location of the proposed wind farm. After all, this is what the conditional-use permit is all about.

It is not whether we all agree on whether renewable energy is a good or bad thing, or whether or not any particular landowner will benefit financially. It doesn't matter how tall or short the towers will be, and it really doesn't matter what he said or she said or didn't say.

The one and only question that should be asked is if an industrial wind turbine project is properly suited to the area in which it is being proposed, especially when so many of the adjacent home and landowners are opposed to the towers being placed in such close proximity to their homes.

When zoning was adopted by Ellis County, the promise of zoning was that the people of Ellis County would be protected from intrusive and unacceptable uses of the property that surrounds their property.

Vernon Berens, Dennis Pfannenstiel and Perry Henman have only one question to answer when they vote on this conditional-use permit. Is the location appropriate for this massive project? Just more than 43 percent of the landowners have signed a formal protest petition stating that they do not want to live in an industrial park.

The actual percentage of landowners against this project is closer to 67 percent. Some of the formal protest signatures were thrown out. Those signatures were thrown out due to land that was in estate probate, or the legal owner of the property didn't write "trustee" behind their name. These are the landowners that live within 1,000 feet of where these intrusive machines are proposed to be built.

I use the word intrusive because there is no other way to describe how these 67 percent feel about being forced by others to live under conditions they had not chosen for themselves.

Conditions from which the county itself vowed to protect.

These are the questions that the county commissioners should consider in deciding this issue:

  • Should the 100 plus adjoining neighbors of the project be subjected to noise when country living is so peaceful and quiet?
  • Should the 100 plus adjoining neighbors have their view obstructed that they have come to enjoy and expect with living in the country?
  • Should the 100 plus adjoining neighbors have the wildlife they have come to enjoy watching begin to vanish?
  • Should the 100 plus adjoining neighbors need to worry about health concerns of their families and themselves and feel like guinea pigs in an experiment of let's wait and see if there really is any adverse health side effects of these turbines?
  • Should these 100 plus adjoining neighbors worry that if they try to sell their homes will they have to take a significant and dramatic financial loss?
  • Will that one reason (whatever that reason may be) those 100 plus adjoining neighbors had for making their home in the country be taken away from them?
  • Are we taking away any further development of the city of Hays with this controversial undertaking?
In my opinion, this area is too populated for this type of venture; too many lives will be forever changed and that change will be for the worse. There are other counties in this state that welcome this type of industrialism with open arms. This county and the people immediately adjacent to the project area do not welcome this project.

A yes vote by the county commissioners will be a violation of the zoning rules and regulations which were adopted by the commissioners.

A yes vote will force these landowners to live with an intrusion into their everyday lives which will be unacceptable and a destruction of the lives they have built.

I am praying that just one of these three gentlemen will have the courage to take a stand on what is their duty to protect the people of Ellis County and vote no on the conditional-use permit.

Forcing turbines on landowners is wrong.

Mary Barnes
615 Munjor Road
Hays, Kansas


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