While residents to the east are rallying to stop a large tollway from affecting property values, among other factors, in western Cooke County there’s a struggle of another kind.

A movement has begun to oppose a project by Florida Power and Light Co. to establish a long line of wind generators from west of Moss Lake through Muenster and Saint Jo.

A meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at Saint Jo High School, Evans Street, in Saint Jo.

Both sides will be represented, according to a flyer for the event. Opinion has been mixed.

Details on the project have been vague, though Florida Power and Light was always prompt in returning calls to the Register and providing information on other, similar projects.

On April 6, a meeting was conducted by Florida Power and Light for potentially affected property owners. The meeting was closed to the general public. No report was given on the results of the meeting.

Jim Gafken, a Dye Mound resident, said Florida Power and Light “has not released anything to the public” and that he and other property owners would like to see an exact proposal of what is to be built.

According to a Web site authored by Jack Schoppa, a real estate appraiser and owner of North Texas properties, the proposed generators are not your typical country farm variety windmills.

He said, based on studies of other wind generators established by Florida Power and Light, the concrete foundations alone would be 14 feet in diameter, 28 feet deep in the ground and could weigh 167 tons.

The towers could be 262 feet tall, about twice as tall as the Muenster water tower at about 135 feet, he said. The tip of the blade in the highest position would be at 400 feet.

The blades would be 131 feet long, diameter of the “fan” would be about 262 feet.

“(The) circumference of the fan is very similar to the circumference of a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet airliner,” Schoppa wrote.

The generator on top of the tower is about the size of a small school bus, Schoppa wrote.

A.J. Knabe, a Muenster resident, said he had not studied the proposal when asked for a comment. After some Internet research, he said there are pros and cons.

“There are two sides to this, let’s consider the benefits of having a renewable energy source right next to us,” he said.

“It’s like any big project, where local people are affected,” he continued. “It’s like the people who didn’t want the railroad built across their land. But the Trans-Continental Railroad needed to be built! ... I don’t know that it needs to be built here, though.”

He said he sympathizes with land owners, but is undecided.

“The turbines are slightly noisy and are large ... The pros, to me, are interesting. They don’t cause any pollution, it’s a renewable resource, takes up less space than existing technology and is relatively affordable. Wind power is clean, renewable, relatively inexpensive and we’ll see more of it in the future.”

D.E. Krahl of Muenster, in a letter to the editor Tuesday, indicated he is a fan.

“Regarding the Montague wind generating farm, I would be proud to have one in my area, even if it wasn’t a thing of beauty and made a little noise,” he wrote. “I don’t like the smell of dairy farms, but I like milk. I don’t like telephone poles but I like electricity.”

Anna Braziel, a Montague County resident who lives near Forestburg, said she is opposed to the project.

“I’m hearing about wind generators that are up to 400 feet tall and weigh up to 250 tons each (requiring up to 30-foot deep concrete slabs) with flashing lights and when the wind blows, producing vibrations and noise that will be able to be heard for up to 20 miles away,” she said. “The cost of the wind generators is funded by tax credits — your tax dollars at work. They know how to work the system and they are looking to profit off us ... Many landowners have been pushed to sign confidentiality agreements before they are given the full sales pitch.”

Gafken said wind farms started in West Texas and New Mexico — places with relatively low populations.

“I think there’s gonna be a real fight before it’s over with,” he said. “Even the companies that are promoting these admit they couldn’t exist without government subsidies.”

He said the generators could affect the leisure industry here.

“This part of the country is mostly recreational land and the value of that land will be from that source in the future,” he said.

Noise is also a factor to Gafken.

“Countries such as Germany, Holland, the U.K. and Denmark that use this source of energy are trying to get away from it because of the unreliability of it and the noise.”

Schoppa said in an interview cities have zoning ordinances to prevent nuisances from being built near residential areas. However, he noted, in the rural areas the property owners must make responsible decisions on what to allow on their property with respect to their neighbors.

“When one chooses to do things on their property hat may cause substantial damage to a large number of other properties then those who may be damaged should take action prior to the activity taking place,” he said. “If this project is permitted to go forth, there will be no undoing it and the results will impact generations to come. Our grandchildren’s grandchildren will appreciate our diligent research and prudent decision making regarding this matter.”

On the Net:

On the Net:

• For information on other wind energy projects in Texas managed by FPL Energy, click on “Wind” at www.fplenergy.com

• Schoppa’s Web site may be viewed at www.northtexasproperties.com

• The Web site of a wind generator watchdog group may be viewed at www.windwatch.org

Reporters Andy Hogue and Delania Trigg may be contacted at andyhoguegdr@ntin.net

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