For two days, members of the Buchanan County Zoning and Planning Committee heard from citizens about the potential construction of wind turbines in the area, with many speaking in opposition to the project.
On Thursday night, citizens continued to give their public opinion on the proposed ordinance to allow a Florida company to build a wind farm on the outskirts of St. Joseph.
Several concerns with the ordinance were addressed, including a rule that the turbines not be built within a 2-mile radius of St. Joseph city limits, but no limits on how close the turbines can be to the property of those in the county.
Denise Colhour of Easton, Missouri, told the commission that this rule bordered on discrimination for those living outside the St. Joseph city limit.
“On what basis do the citizens of St. Joseph get a 2-mile setback but the rest of us do not,” Colhour asked. “If you do not have research backing your decision, then it appears to be capricious and perhaps even discriminatory.”
Others expressed concerns for how the large, white structures would affect property value. Mike Simon of Marion Township said he began researching the issue in August, and found a statewide study on wind farms’ effect on property.
“By doing the research, I discovered it could be anywhere from a 25% to 40% drop in values, depending on the proximity of the turbine,” Simon said. “That was my main concern, because someday we will leave this to our children or, hopefully, we won’t ever have to sell it.”
Many citizens said they did not want to see the natural beauty of rural Buchanan County be marred by the objects, with some asking how the turbines would affect the bald eagles that are in the area.
Ryan Richter of Easton, Missouri, said the turbines could cause noises that would have a serious effect on those in the area. Richter, who told the commission he has a degree in engineering, brought in graphs to show how the low frequency coming from the turbines lead to a large number of complaints from citizens.
“Basing a noise criteria solely on a single number ignores the unique nature of the sound produced by large wind turbines,” Richter said. “It is constantly changing loudness, frequency, harmonics, pitch and impulse quality. It is precisely these qualities that make the sound feel so intrusive and annoying.”
A group called Friends of Buchanan County presented a united front, as all its members wore blue shirts and asked those in attendance to sign a petition to ban wind turbines in Buchanan County. Simon, a member of the group, said the group did not want the turbines to cause issues among neighbors as some choose to allow the turbines to be built on their property and neglect the concerns of those around them.
“We know our neighbors; we love our neighbors,” Simon said. “I’d hate to see the relationships destroyed over this wind turbine project.”