Dekalb Co. board to vote on wind turbines

June 17, 2009 5:47:33 PM PDT
Dekalb County is full of farms but it's one step away from becoming home to a massive wind power farm.The plan is up for a final vote on Wednesday night that would build more than 100 turbines in some rural townships of Dekalb County.

But some Dekalb County residents are opposed to the plan.

When Mary and Jim Murphy built their dream farm home in rural Dekalb County three years ago, they had no idea they would one day be looking at 400-foot tall wind turbines rising from the farm fields around them. At least one would stand 1,400 feet from their house.

"We feel that these towers are not safe to have this close to our home," said Mary Murphy, homeowner.

The Murphy's and dozens of other residents have waged a lengthy battle against Florida Power and Light's plan to build turbines in southern Dekalb County.

"Wind is not as efficient as other forms and if it weren't for the tax subsidies, they wouldn't be building these," said Jim Murphy, homeowner.

Opponents argue the plan is being rammed through and that noise and an altered landscape will wreck their lifestyle and property values. After months of sometimes contentious debate the Dekalb County Board will vote on Wednesday night on the wind farm proposal. It is expected to pass.

"When I get an email that says I'm responsible for the changed face of Dekalb County, you know, for the future, it gives me pause. But not enough to say that I won't vote for it," said Ruth Anne Tobias, DeKalb County Board chairman.

The county board chair and other members say they're not unsympathetic to homeowners who will be living among 40-story turbines but that this vote is for a greater good.

"We do have to take some positive steps to ensure the future," said Tobias.

Homeowners, nonetheless, say they will keep fighting and ultimately may choose to leave the land they love.


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