Iowa zoning board endorses wind farm
WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) -- A county zoning board in northeast Iowa has approved a 35-turbine wind farm despite opposition from neighbors raising health and property value concerns.
The Black Hawk County Planning and Zoning Commission voted Tuesday to recommend approving the Washburn Wind Energy project, which RPM Access will develop south of Waterloo, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported .
Commissioners Eric Sage, Kamyar Enshayan, Gary Wurtz and Renata Sack endorsed the special permit.
"Climate change will wipe all of us out, and we will not have any land to argue about anymore," Sack said. "We need to look at the large, large picture in the world, not only in Iowa but everywhere."
Commissioners Peter Beck and Deb Nagle voted against it. The proposed area is prime agricultural farm land while other locations are better suited for a wind farm, Beck said.
Commissioner Marlene Rottinghaus declined to vote.
Area residents are concerned about the project's impact on their health, wildlife and property values.
"We moved to the country to enjoy the views, the peace and quiet, and live in a healthy environment," said resident Kevin Youngblut. "These turbines will take all that away from us."
The company has taken steps to reduce the project's impact on surrounding property owners, said Felix Friedman, a spokesman for RPM Access. The concerns of negative health impacts and property value loss don't have scientific merit, he said.
The plant will help generate more clean energy and reduce climate change, environmentalists said. The wind farm will also create jobs that will help the local economy, union workers said.
The county Board of Adjustment is expected to make the final decision on the issue next week.
Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, http://www.wcfcourier.com