The construction of new wind farms is banned for up to three years in Jay County.
Jay County Commissioners voted to adopt a three-year moratorium on wind farms at their meeting Monday.
They also decided to withhold a final payment to Butler, Fairman and Seufert over unfilled items on a service contract.
The decision on the moratorium came quickly Monday, as commissioners had indicated at their June 25 meeting they were in support of taking a break from wind farm construction. Jay County Plan Commission recommended the moratorium at its June 21 meeting.
Now that the moratorium is in place, it’s up to the plan commission to work on reviewing and potentially proposing changes to the existing wind farm ordinance. Once it is updated — or three years is up — the moratorium will be lifted.
Commissioner Barry Hudson emphasized that if a new ordinance isn’t drawn up within three years, the commissioners will have to follow the existing ordinance.
“Unless something is done with a new ordinance, the original covenant will stand,” Hudson said. “We as commissioners, our call as executive is to enforce the existing covenant.”
The plan commission can either rework the ordinance itself or appoint a committee.
The commission can then present any proposed changes to the commissioners for review and approval.
A small crowd gathered in the commissioners’ room to hear the vote on the moratorium, but no one spoke during the discussion.
The moratorium will not apply to Scout Clean Energy’s Bitter Ridge Wind Farm, which was given approval to move forward at the same June 21 plan commission meeting. As Scout Clean Energy filed its construction application before the plan commission decided to discuss a moratorium, the company has the right to be evaluated under the current ordinance.
Also Monday, commissioners declined to make a final payment of $1,920 to engineering firm Butler, Fairman and Seufert for its flood mitigation study.
At their last meeting, they discussed that the report did not include several things listed on the contract.
The contract states that BF&S was to survey Millers Branch, the county road 100 North crossing and the industrial park detention pond. Additionally, engineers were to perform a hydraulic analysis of the detention pond and conveyances to look for deficiencies and to propose fixes. These points were not fulfilled, commissioners said, so they decided to withhold the final payment.
“It’s not much, but it’s the principle,” Hudson said. “They didn’t do it, we don’t pay it.”