1:47 am - Thursday April 24, 2014

Wind turbine decision has some residents looking to de-annex

A wind turbine sits in the vicinity of a house near Calumet. A similar wind farm has been proposed near Piedmont but a recent planning commission decision currently prevents wind turbine construction inside the city limits. (Ben Felder/Citizen)

A rejection of commercial wind turbines in Piedmont has some residents seeking to de-annex from the city in hopes of leasing land to a wind energy company.

The planning commission rejected a proposed commercial wind turbine ordinance this month after dozens of residents expressed disapproval with a proposed wind farm project in the area. However, at least a few Piedmont residents stood to make money off of the turbine leases and the city has received a de-annexation request from one family and has heard from an attorney that claims to be representing three other property owners.

Wade and Irene Moffat of 5501 Cimarron Rd. have submitted a letter to the city requesting to de-annex. The letter is dated Sept. 4 but the city received a copy on Nov. 7. A map attached to the letter shows three plots that have at least one border not bounded by Piedmont. Wade declined to comment for this story.

Crosby said the city has also heard from an attorney that said he represents some other property owners seeking to de-annex.

Oklahoma State Statute 11, Section 21-110 addresses de-annexation, or detachment, and states that a petition signed by at least three-fourths of the registered voters and by the owners of at least three-fourths of the property must be submitted to the city clerk. The city will then post a notice of the request to de-annex and “the governing body of the municipality shall hold a public hearing on the petition requesting detachment and take such action thereon as the governing body deems appropriate, which may include approval, denial, or deferral.”

Crosby said the process could include a hearing in front of the planning commission and then the city council. Crosby also said he believes staff recommendation would be to deny the request because it would go against the planning commission’s recent decision to keep commercial wind turbines out of the city limits and the vicinity.

Virginia-based Apex Wind Energy has proposed a $500 million wind farm project in Kingfisher and Canadian Counties that would include several turbines in Piedmont. However, the planning commission has declined to approve a commercial wind turbine ordinance. Apex has said it hopes to break ground on the wind farm next year.

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