Pulaski County Commissioners Table Proposed Wind Turbine Ban

A recommendation to ban wind turbines has been tabled by the Pulaski County Commissioners, to give county officials a chance to refine the proposed language. Building Inspector and Plan Administrator Doug Hoover formally presented the advisory plan commission’s recommendation during Monday’s commissioners meeting.

But Commissioner Mike McClure quickly voiced his concerns with the proposal. “This seems awful vague,” he said. “I’d hate to see something pass that’s going to come back and haunt us. I know it’s what the majority of the people want, is a ban on them. But I think we’ve got to be real careful on personal property rights, like if an individual wants to put one up.”

Part of the issue was that the written recommendation drafted by Building Department Assistant Karla Kreamer simply stated that the five plan commission members in attendance at the June 23 meeting voted to ban wind turbines in Pulaski County. However, the plan commission’s full motion attempted to give some reasons, including the safety and welfare of the community, flicker issues, and questions about the county’s ability to provide fire protection to the structures.

Still, County Attorney Kevin Tankersley didn’t feel that language provided enough legal justification, either. “Just to be clear, though, I said, ‘Don’t ban them outright. That’s the worst thing you could do.’ That’s what they did,” Tankersley explained. “And now I’m being told, ‘Draft some language that makes that work.’ Okay, I’ll try, even though I said that’s the most clear way to not get it to work. But nobody listened. That’s alright. We’ll do it.”

Community Development Commission Executive Director Nathan Origer felt that several other issues need to be addressed, such as clearly differentiating between industrial and noncommercial wind turbines and removing any leftover wind turbine language from the county’s Unified Development Ordinance.

As a next step, Origer offered to work with Tankersley to create more formal language to ban wind turbines and present it to the commissioners at their August 20 meeting. At that point, the commissioners could formally reject the plan commission’s initial recommendation but send them the new language for their approval.