Letter to the Editor (4-24-19)

Wind Farm brings potential for Marion County

A multitude of words has been spoken and written of late concerning the Expedition wind farm. Many of the comments I’ve heard and seen are negative concerning wind energy in Marion County. I wish to go on record stating that I am in support of National Renewable Solutions and their efforts to build the Expedition wind farm. It would seem that many of those who have voiced opposition to this project do not even live within the footprint of the proposed wind farm.

While many of us landowners have quietly gone about our business making a living from the soil beneath our feet, we now see the opportunity to harvest the wind above our heads. I do not feel that the staff of National Renewable Solutions should have to present their case alone. Many of us have quietly supported the development of wind energy for many years. I would encourage anyone who has an interest in this project and in the economic wellbeing of Marion County to be at the public hearing of the Marion County Planning and Zoning Commission this Thursday evening, April 25 at 7:00 PM at the Marion County Lake Hall. While many of you, like me, may not feel comfortable expressing your feelings in public, your supportive presence at this hearing will help to show the board that the naysayers are not the only ones with a story to tell.

At the March 27 zoning board meeting the board consultant reminded board members that they must consider only facts and not opinions when making their decision to approve a conditional use permit. The fact is that the wind industry has created many economic opportunities for rural Americans. An estimated 30,000 families across the U.S. are currently earning $267,000,000 in lease payments annually. Marion County could use a share of these payments to support our families and our livelihoods. Wind energy is helping America to achieve energy independence and national security. Kansas wind farms generate 36% of the electric energy used in our state. Nationwide there are more than 100,000 people employed by the wind industry and that number is expected to more than double in the next 10 years. The proposed wind farm will support scores if not hundreds of jobs in Marion County during the construction phase. When operating, the wind farm will produce jobs for those who service and perform routine maintenance on the wind turbines. Once constructed and operating, wind turbines do not produce pollution like other fossil fuel burning sources.

These are but a few of the facts surrounding wind energy. I am sure many more facts and opinions will be stated at the public hearing this Thursday evening. It will be the duty of the zoning board to distinguish fact from opinion. It is my hope and prayer that when all the facts are considered, the board will recommend approval of the conditional use permit.

Joel Suderman

Hillsboro

Former zoning board member calls out cell tower processes

There will be an additional Public Hearing for the Verizon Telecommunications tower to be installed at 505 Commercial St, Marion, KS, in a low density residential district.

I’m asking all who care about their city to be at the meeting at 7 p.m. On April 30 in the Marion City Building. This is a review of a proposal put before the City Council on March 25, to issue a conditional use permit with variances to allow the 129 foot tower to be in place in the residential district and within a block of a preschool. If we let this happen, what’s next?

The zoning regulations are to protect the City of Marion. But everything that has been done so far goes against the zoning regulations.

The Planning and Zoning board issued variances for this tower, when zoning regulations do not support the variances unless they can meet the following.

1. That the variance request arises from such condition which is unique to the property in question and which is not ordinarily found in the same zoning district and is not created by an action or actions of the property owner of the applicant.

2. That the granting of the variance will not adversely affect the rights of adjacent property owners of residents.

3. That the strict application of the provisions of these zoning regulations of which variance is requested will constitute unnecessary hardship upon the property owner represented in the application.

4. That the variance desired will not adversely affect the public health, safety, morals, orders, convenience, prosperity or general welfare

5. That granting the variance desired will not be opposed to the general spirit and intent of these zoning regulations.

Please help us stop this tower.

Ruth Herbel

Marion- Past Planning and Zoning board member.

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