After asking the Tama Co. Board of Supervisors week after week to contemplate enacting a moratorium on future industrial wind energy tasks – solely to have the requests denied or dismissed – a petition has been filed towards the board by a member of the coalition Tama County In opposition to Generators regarding the board’s current motion to ‘reaffirm’ the county’s wind energy conversion system (WECS) ordinance.
On Thursday, June 23, Dysart resident and farmer Richard W. Arp filed a petition for declaratory judgment in Tama Co. district court docket towards the Tama County Board of Supervisors alleging, partly, that motion taken by the three-member board throughout its common, weekly assembly on Monday, Might 16, violated Iowa Code.
The Tama Co. Board of Supervisors consists of supervisors Dan Anderson, Invoice Faircloth, and Larry Vest.
A declaratory judgment is a binding judgment to find out the rights and obligations of every occasion.
In his petition, Arp alleges the board didn’t observe each Iowa Code and the county’s personal insurance policies when members voted 3-0 to “reaffirm” the 2010 Tama County Zoning Ordinance VI.I Modification No. 1 – which incorporates the WECS ordinance – “as is” after just one posting of the agenda merchandise no less than 24 hours prior and following no alternative for public enter.
Tama County’s WECS ordinance dates again to 2010 when it was added to the county’s 1998 set of zoning ordinances by modification.
Arp alleges in Rely 1 of his petition that the board’s resolution to reaffirm the ordinance is illegitimate and void because the board lacks “requisite authority to behave.” The petition states that each the Code of Iowa and Tama County’s ordinance make no differentiation between “adopting an ordinance” and “readopting” or “reaffirming” an ordinance.
Below Iowa Code, the passage of any proposed ordinance or modification by a county’s legislative physique can solely be achieved following consideration and passage “at two conferences of the board previous to the assembly at which it’s to be lastly handed.” This legislation can solely be circumvented by suspending the principles with a recorded vote of not lower than a majority of the supervisors.
In his petition, Arp alleges the county failed to carry the requisite three readings of the ordinance earlier than last passage and “readoption,” and in addition didn’t maintain a public listening to as required.
Arp additional alleges that the board of supervisors didn’t observe Iowa Code when the board failed to stick to the 15-day discover/publication requirement for any proposed ordinance or modification previous to first consideration.
Arp states within the petition that the one discover supplied that the board meant to “reaffirm” the WECS ordinance on Might 16, was the assembly discover and agenda posted within the Tama County Administration Constructing no less than 24 hours previous to the assembly.
Below Rely II, Arp alleges the board of supervisors’ resolution to reaffirm the ordinance “isn’t supported by substantial proof, and is unfair, capricious and unreasonable underneath the circumstances.”
Arp cites the aim and intent of the county’s zoning ordinances – to “promote the security, well being and basic welfare of the residents of Tama County” – was bypassed by the board on Might 16 after they didn’t first “undertake affordable consideration and significant evaluate of the county’s rules.”
By refusing to take a moratorium vote on future industrial wind energy tasks with a view to evaluate the county’s “outdated” WECS ordinance because the coalition Tama County In opposition to Generators repeatedly requested the board to do on a number of events, Arp alleges the choice to reaffirm was not supported by proof.
Arp additionally alleges the “sole said foundation for the Board’s refusal to vote on the query of proposing a moratorium” was the specter of a lawsuit by the wind energy developer Salt Creek Wind LLC which is at present growing a wind farm within the central a part of the county.
The letter Arp cites, dated Might 11, 2022, was addressed to the board supervisors and despatched to Tama County Legal professional Brent Heeren from the legislation places of work of Sullivan & Ward. The letter threatens the county with a attainable lawsuit if a moratorium is enacted however doesn’t point out authorized motion if the county merely determined to evaluate its 2010 WECS ordinance.
The specter of authorized motion alone, Arp states in his petition, “bears no affordable relationship to the promotion of well being, security or basic welfare of Tama County residents.” Arp additional finds it “unreasonable” that the board didn’t think about “on the file” another info past the Salt Creek letter in its Might 16 resolution to reaffirm.
In his petition, Arp asks the court docket to declare the Tama Co. Board of Supervisors’ Might 16 vote to reaffirm the 2010 WECS ordinance unlawful and void.
Arp additional asks the court docket to command the board to observe Iowa legislation by publishing discover in accordance with Iowa Code and to carry a public listening to relating to reconsideration of the 2010 WECS ordinance.
Arp would additionally just like the court docket to enact a short lived order restraining the board and different Tama County companies from “authorizing or approving any permits for brand new business wind energy tasks, or extra permits for current wind energy tasks” till after the board has held a public listening to to rethink the 2010 WECS ordinance.
Supervisors retain counsel, Conifer speaks
Throughout the Monday, June 27 assembly of the Tama Co. Board of Supervisors, the board mentioned hiring legal professional Carlton Salmons – Heartland Insurance coverage Danger pool legal professional – as counsel for Tama County within the swimsuit introduced by Arp.
Because the county’s danger pool legal professional, Salmons initially suggested the board to reaffirm their present ordinances and keep away from making feedback on the questions posed by the turbine coalition.
Supervisor Vest made the movement to approve Salmons, which was seconded by supervisor Anderson and finally authorised.
When contacted late final week by the Telegraph relating to each the Arp petition and the query of who could be representing the board towards the lawsuit, Tama County Legal professional Brent Heeren declined to wade into the specifics of the lawsuit. Heeren as a substitute referred to the upcoming June 27 board of supervisors assembly agenda merchandise pertaining to the litigation.
“Any remark could be hypothesis and untimely,” Heeren wrote in an electronic mail. “To keep away from prejudice or drawback relating to the place of the Workplace of the Tama County Board of Supervisors relative to the pending litigation; no remark might be forthcoming.”
Throughout the June 27 assembly, little was stated by the three supervisors relating to the lawsuit though a consultant from Conifer Energy, Tom Swierczewski, which owns Salt Creek Wind LLC, was current through the assembly and a part of the agenda.
Swierczewski stood in entrance of the packed board room to deal with a number of the fundamental issues behind the Tama County In opposition to Wind Generators coalition.
“I’ve stayed silent till now as a result of Confier Energy didn’t really feel the necessity to take invaluable time out of your group throughout these conferences to reply questions on Salt Creek Wind,” Swierczewski stated, “as a result of it has been clear to us that there’s little curiosity within the fact.”
“Put merely, Salt Creek wind as soon as constructed might be an financial engine for Tama County,” Swierczewski additional said.
Swierczewski indicated his presence on the board assembly on June 27 was motivated by a want to coach the coalition on a number of the misinformation that has been going round whereas additionally bringing forth advantages that come from wind energy. Search for future reporting relating to Swierczewski’s feedback in an upcoming version of the Telegraph/Solar Courier.
In a press launch from Tama County In opposition to Wind Generators dated June 24, Arp is quoted as follows, “The present [Tama County] ordinance lacks an in depth public criticism decision course of, and doesn’t present the mandatory readability on Tama County’s position in implementing the ordinance, together with fines and penalties for failing to adjust to it. Neither is there any language about limiting shadow flicker or infrasound that may be dangerous to folks and animals. These are among the many explanation why the coalition has been calling for the numerous essential adjustments to the ordinance to supply better public security for present and future generations.”