Wind farms (Photo: File illustration)
Wind farms (Photo: File illustration)
WEST LAFAYETTE – West Lafayette, agitated that the home of Purdue University was being linked to a new ban on wind farms across Tippecanoe County, took a hard pass Monday night.

City council members admitted that the vote largely symbolic. The city has little ground that could accommodate the sort of 300- to 600-foot wind turbines recently outlawed in Tippecanoe County’s zoning code. And even if the city did have enough open space, the height of a wind turbine wouldn’t fly that close to the Purdue Airport on the west edge of the city, given Federal Aviation Administration limits.

But city council members objected to West Lafayette’s name being associated with the ban, voting 7-0 Monday night to keep the zoning ordinance out of the city code.

“For the city of West Lafayette, we have nothing to gain, everything to lose by including this in our city code,” said Nick DeBoer, a Democrat who represents District 1. “We don’t want the headlines to read, ‘City of Purdue University bans wind energy,’ right? There’s no upside in a PR aspect for us. There’s no upside in us adopting this amendment.”

Jon Jones, a Republican from the campus-heavy District 3, said: “It’s definitely an issue where framing of it is important. And I do not want to cast a vote against renewable energy.”

West Lafayette’s vote followed a study finished in April by the Tippecanoe County Area Plan Commission, the body that offers the first review of zoning and land use issues for Lafayette, West Lafayette, Tippecanoe County and the towns of Dayton, Battle Ground and Clarks Hill.
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