Throughout 47 hours of attending sixteen of seventeen ZBA hearings, I listened intently to both supporters and those in opposition of constructing an industrial wind complex in our rural county. I compliment those I saw in attendance repeatedly. There is no replacement for witnessing testimony first-hand. You hear a presenter’s tone of voice, see their non-verbal communication, view visual aids such as PowerPoints, and watch the crowd’s interactions.
Only three county board members were consistently present for the same first-hand experience. They realized how important this issue is, how 599 foot towers will affect families living in the footprint, and how safety is at risk for DeWitt County residents enough to invest in the time necessary to hear testimony directly. Thank you to those board members who respected citizens and the office of the county board through your attendance!
Ironically, some of the individuals making false accusations are citizens and county board members who were not present at all these ZBA hearings. How can one claim to make an informed decision or to represent the best interest of the county and not invest the time to attend informational hearings? They needed to be present to hear residents speak, present reliable research, and ask alarming questions that were met with ridicule from Tradewind. I believe hearing testimony would have led any attendee to conclude that supporters spoke only on the grounds of financial gain and failed to present solid research. One would have heard 14 speakers in support of the project and 68 in opposition. One would have watched Tradewind dance around providing solid answers to critical questions, harass speakers, and demonstrate their untrustworthiness.
To my fellow community, please inquire about the facts from those who were present at the zoning hearings. To the county board members who exempted yourself from attending and who will be making an incredibly critical decision that will affect the very fabric of the lives of those who will live with the outcome of your decision, I urge you to respect the advice of the Regional Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals—the boards you appointed for the purpose of research and recommendation—and vote to not approve Tradewind’s special use permit.