Following protests over a wind farm project proposed by British-based Renewable Energy Systems (RES), Fulton County commissioners decided to nullify the district’s commercial wind ordinance.
Early in November 2017, RES expressed its interest to construct 133 wind turbines across four areas of Fulton County, particularly 70 in Wayne Township, 50 in Liberty, 11 in Union and two in Rochester. The company plans to invest an estimated $591 million in Fulton county, with landowners getting paid over $90 million.
If the commercial wind ordinance was not struck down, construction of access roads and turbine foundations would begin in late 2018. Turbine construction would commence spring of 2019 and power would be generated by December 2019.
However, in a meeting held Nov. 20, commissioners Bryan Lewis and Rick Ranstead voted 2-0 to strike down the commercial wind ordinance from the county’s zoning ordinance.
Lewis said he talked to Fulton County residents who don’t live near the proposed site. They said they didn’t mind the wind farm project but wouldn’t want to live near the turbines. This led Lewis to conclude that residents do not approve of the proposal.
“Why would I want to impose something on the people that very few would want to live close to? Although the monetary gain could be big, money’s not the most important factor to consider. We have quality of life to consider,” Lewis said.
“Being part of a community means getting along, being good neighbors and helping out one another through tough times. I feel if I vote in favor of the current ordinance before us, we may jeopardize this in our community,” he added.
The decision be forwarded to the county’s area plan commission, which will have 45 days to accept or reject it. If rejected, the commissioners will have to reaffirm their votes.