Tipton County approves $300M wind farm, with limits

A central Indiana county has given the go-ahead to a proposed $300 million wind farm while also approving restrictions that address concerns about the project's impact on property values.

The Tipton County Board of Zoning Appeals approved a conditional use permit Wednesday for Colorado-based juwi Wind's plans for up to 94 wind turbines on 16,000 acres capable of generating up to 150 total megawatts of power.

The approval means the company can move forward as long as it guarantees it won't diminish property values and that the wind turbines are built at least 1,500 feet from property lines.

Company officials have 30 days to appeal the permit.

Proponents and opponents of the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm filled Tipton High School's auditorium Wednesday evening, and a video screen displayed the meeting in the lobby to accommodate the large crowd. Members of opposition group Tipton County Citizens for Responsible Development wore white shirts, many with flashing red lights that represent the lights placed on top of wind turbines.

More than 140 local residents addressed the board to either support or oppose the project. Each was given two minutes to speak.

Proponents of the plan argue that there is no statistical evidence that property values would be affected by the turbines.

The only U.S. county that has a guaranteed property value provision for wind farm placement is DeKalb County in northeastern Illinois. The energy company would provide the difference between the sale price and the appraised value if a property owner couldn't sell his or her home for the appraised value.

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