The Carroll County Board of Supervisors will hold a special meeting January 28 from 7 to 9 p.m. to have an open discussion concerning windmills.
Laurel Fork District Supervisor Josh Hendrick suggested the idea during the board’s regular monthly meeting Jan. 14. Noting the draft Ridgetop Protection Ordinance that County Attorney Jim Cornwell presented to the board in December of 2012, Hendrick said it’s not in the board’s best interest to “drag out the process.”
“I think we need to be proactive in the approach we take. And I believe it would be a good step for the board to have a special meeting for windmills to do an open discussion of the board and talk about it,” Hendrick said.
After staff discussed meeting on January 28, Cornwell said he wouldn’t be able to attend the meeting, but suggested the board take advantage of a non-biased windmill study group from James Madison University. Perhaps the group could speak to the board about the tax advantages or disadvantages of windmills in the county, he said.
Board Chairman David Hutchins said he thought the idea of an open forum to discuss windmills would be a good one.
“We are not going to pass anything, this is not a public hearing,” Hutchins said. “It’s an opportunity as a workshop to listen to somewhat controlled chaos maybe. I think we do need it out for discussion.”
Hutchins then told County Administrator Gary Larrowe it might be a good idea to contact JMU to see if it has numbers on the machinery and tools taxes windmills might generate locally. Larrowe responded that perhaps representatives from JMU might be able to attend the meeting. Hendrick noted he has already spoken to the person from JMU that addressed the board during its December meeting to ask a couple of questions about the draft ordinance.
“They are not in it for profit,” Hutchins said.
Pipers Gap Supervisor Dr. Tom Littrell wanted to know if the meeting would purely be a board discussion or if citizens would also be allowed to comment. Larrowe said it would be up to the board, but he thought it would be good to allow some citizen interaction in a controlled manner. Hendrick said he would encourage the public to attend.
“It will be open for comments, we will have a citizens’ time,” Hutchins responded. “We would ask everyone to respect each other’s rights and not get to violent. But yes, it is open.”
The board then set the time of the Jan. 28 meeting from 7 to 9 p.m.