Whose land is it anyway?

A Buchanan County farmer is fed up with attempts by NIMBYs and her local government to tell her how to use her own land. This is a must-read message she sent to her local elected officials.

Dear Supervisors:

Since not all of you could attend the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting last evening, I wanted to share what I said during the Public Hearing:

Thank you for the opportunity to speak tonight. I want to raise a few concerns I have from the November wind energy discussion. Two items from that evening need a serious review.

 

First, property rights.

Property rights are something that belong to me and every other landowner. Our zoning laws and this future wind ordinance exist to set the framework for what can be done on property, BUT setting some type of precedent that a community has a right over property we own is completely counter to everything we believe.

My husband and I paid for our farmland, not Planning & Zoning or anyone else. We pay the property taxes on our land, not P & Z or anyone else. We work on and care for our land, again not you or anyone else. The government has no right to declare that our land is “community” land.

A wind turbine would take up a very small piece of our property, and the entire farm operation will continue around it. It’s something that will be in place for a set time and then it is removed. What we do with our land is really our own business decision.

The comprehensive plan references that we should preserve farmland. How about preserving farmland AND family farmers at the same time. Wind energy will help to do that. It will financially benefit our community and farm families. We want to see our farm operation continue for generations to come.

 

Second, last month it was suggested that land used for wind farms should be rezoned as manufacturing.

I understand that solar has that designation, but I don’t agree with that decision and there are others who feel the same.

The detailed minutes suggest that when equipment is used to produce something, then it’s manufacturing. If you sell energy or even sell “something,” then it’s manufacturing. I guess our whole farm should be rezoned as manufacturing. We use equipment to produce crops.

Some of those crops make energy, such as ethanol or biodiesel, and we sell all our grain rather than feeding it. With wind energy, we are using a piece of equipment to collect the wind, just like we use a combine to harvest our corn and soybeans.

The whole project is about 0.030% of Buchanan County farmland. We have an opportunity to support family farmers, to preserve our land for the future, and to financially benefit our County.

Meanwhile, it feels like you are trying to take that away. I hope you think about these decisions and reconsider the many restrictions you are trying to impose on wind farms. Thank you for your time and service.

The Planning and Zoning Commission have an extremely difficult task, and it is obvious they all take their job seriously and care deeply about Buchanan County. As I listen to their deliberations, I do not believe the recommended policy will allow wind turbines in Buchanan County. Many references were made to what other counties have in their ordinances, and apart from noise decibels, the new policy additions seem to be the most stringent.

A nearby neighbor attended his first P & Z meeting last evening. He later told me that he felt that none of the committee members were supportive of wind turbines, yet they are the ones to make the decision. I hope as Supervisors you will take a broader view and consider the positives of wind energy.

Sincerely,

Dawnye Sturtz

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