Letters raise questions about wind energy, recall

Recall process should only be a last resort
Dear Editor:
 I am disheartened by the filing for two recall petitions against commissioners.
It seems to me that conversation/suggestion, public discourse, and elections are the normal processes that a civil society uses to improve government action. The recall process is disruptive and should be used only as a last resort or for gross misconduct that requires immediate action. If the recall petitions are about good governance, then fine. If they are about amplifying opinions or settling grudges then we as citizens should reject these petitions.
I will add a comment to thank the county commissioners for their past work on behalf of the people of Hamilton County. The Manor and EMS issues have been complex and filled with disagreements, but the commissioners have been willing to work through the process of deciding what is best for the county.
The commissioners are now facing the pressing issue of the conditions of rural roads. Most of us that live on gravel roads have been frustrated by the sometimes dismissive attitudes to our past complaints. However, thanks for starting the rebuilding work on the county’s infrastructure. I wish you success.
John Quiring,
Hampton

Windmill
setbacks should be greater
Dear Editor:
I will be sending a petition to the Hamilton County Joint Planning Commission to request that 1. They encourage the commissioners to increase the windmill setback to two miles 2. They delay approving pending permits until the commissioners have a chance to get this changed.
If you would like to add your name to the growing list of petitioners please contact me at 402-604-0398.
Good reasons to sign the petition:
You think windmills are ugly;
You prefer the night sky to flashing red lights;
You don’t like it when a company uses the government as an 800 pound gorilla to sit on you while they pick your pocket;
You don’t like shadow flicker;
You don’t like seeing birds killed;
You don’t prefer listening to repetitive swooshing sounds;
You don’t like it when sheets of ice fly through the air;
You don’t like it when the blades of someone else’s windmill are over your field;
You don’t like losing property value due to your neighbor’s activities;
You realize that wind energy is a scam used by politicians to gain the power to move money from one pocket to the next;
You don’t like having your pocket picked and being told it is for your benefit;
You think the cost of electricity is already high enough.
According to physicist and environmental advocate John Droz Jr “a typical 100 MW wind project would generate approximately:
20,000 square meters of destroyed vegetation;1.2 million pounds of CO2; 6 million cubic meters of toxic air pollution; 29 million gallons of poisoned water; 600 million pounds of highly contaminated tailing sands; and 280,000 pounds radioactive waste.”
Dwayne Juzyk,
Aurora

Questions on
recall responses
Dear Editor:
I was reading the response of Roger Nunnenkamp to the recall charges and had a few questions. When talking to the residents in your district about wind turbines did you give them all the facts? Did you tell them that the 2,640-foot setbacks would affect adjacent property owners? This means that if you are an adjacent property owner you need a variance to build on your own property. Did you inform them that there are no density requirements on wind turbines? You have density requirements on homes being built on your property only two per quarter section but you can put as many wind turbines as you want as long as they are 2640’ from a house.
Did you inform them that this project was for four turbines and future projects could place hundreds of turbines in Hamilton County? I don’t think the public was aware of how this will affect property owners in this county.
The county board is directly responsible for the department heads and their hiring practices. You can demand only experienced people can be hired. If the highway superintendent does not listen to what or how you want him to do things you fire him. The county board should not take direct control over the highway department because you don’t have any more knowledge than the highway superintendent does.
Using road packers to fix our roads what were you thinking? Filling the ruts in the roads with loose dirt. You need to find a highway superintendent who will be responsible for the one-and six-year plan and the daily paperwork only a part-time position. You need to put every grader operator in the graders of Al and Rod for one week of training. After there one week of training they are given 30 days to start grading the roads properly or they will be fired.
You need a road construction department to go out and rebuild the areas of concern that are called in by the grader operators. You need a bridge and culvert crew to handle culverts and bridges. You can’t fix our problems by not addressing these issues. Everyone who was hired with no experience required should be given a chance to prove themselves but after 30 days if they can’t, they need to be fired. Our highway department used to be run that way and it needs to be run that way again. If you train your employees to be the best they can be, and give them the right supervision our roads will be drivable again.
The board is supposed to be in charge. It is obvious they are not. Signing the recall petitions is our way of saying enough is enough.
Duane Katt,
Aurora

Project should cause no harm
to a neighbor
Dear Editor:
As you encouraged in a previous article about discussing the new zoning regulations, I think there’s a real need for people to understand what these regulations do for us. While in town this past week, my wife had a conversation with an individual and this person was questioning why there’s so much concern over these wind turbines. As my wife discussed the issue, it was evident that the negative impact of how a dissimilar structure being placed next to an existing structure was not understood.  This is one of the situations that our zoning regulations strive to avoid by placing certain structures in specifically zoned areas all the while meeting certain criteria. In our newly approved regulations it is clearly stated that preserving the value of existing structures is a purpose for our zoning regulations. Pg IV #10. “Protecting property against blight and depreciation”; and Pg V paragraph 1;”...to conserve the value of lands and improvements;” also, the approval criteria for a conditional use permit (which the wind turbines require) in section 5.10 #2. “That the conditional use will not be injurious to the use and enjoyment of other property in the immediate vicinity for the purpose already permitted, nor substantially diminish and impair property values within the neighborhood.”
Being a contractor, I deal with permits, building regulations and building values on a daily basis. I understand the importance of the impacts one structure has upon another. These wind towers have been around for many years now and the true values and detrimental effects are becoming much more clear.
At last week’s public hearing I presented a series of documents that highlighted the detriments of wind turbines upon existing property values. The first article published back as far as July 2012 documented the property devaluations and it was verified by the governing valuation office to the amount of 25 percent of the home values. In this same report it was mentioned that even back in 2007 the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors stated that “homes within one mile of wind farms would lose value.”  The second report from April 2013, documented a Chicago-based real estate appraiser, Michael McCann’s study of 20 wind projects in 12 states, more specifically Van Wert County, Ohio, where he discovered that “homes within the turbine’s two-to-three mile “footprint” sold for 26 percent less.”  
A more recent report from Leibniz Institute for Economic Research date January 2019 documents 7 percent up to as much as 23 percent reduction in value for houses 1.25 miles from a wind turbine.  This is a huge price to pay when someone wants to make a buck at their neighbor’s expense. It isn’t just the principle value but also the interest that they paid on that principle amount that they will now have to try to recover in the valuation loss.
When determining new structures to build, the first consideration should be the current structures and preserving that value. If that can be guaranteed, then the new structure can be pursued.
Some will say, but the land owner is being depraved of the ability to make use of the property. Where are his rights?  To that I say, all of us have “rights” only to the extent it does not cause injury to someone else. If exercising our “rights” would cause injury, we no longer have that “right” in that instance.  The mandate is “Cause no harm to a neighbor.”
Pat Harvey,
Aurora

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