Doughterty said Apex has more than 13,000 acres leased from about 100 landowners for the Kingfisher project.
“We are largely leased,” he said in a phone interview before the meeting. “One of the strongest shows of support for this project has been the very strong landowner support. ... The project came together very quickly from a land perspective, which is always a sign of the local support.”
Apex began operation of the nearby Canadian Hills wind farm in December. That 300-megawatt development is majority owned by Boston-based Atlantic Power Corp. and has 136 turbines.
“We're in discussions with different vendors right now for the construction,” Kevin Davis, Apex's vice president of development, said of the planned Kingfisher project. “We're also looking for power contracts; there's still a lot to be done on the project.”
One Piedmont landowner, Joe Husmann, said his family has owned the property since the 1950s. He grew up about two miles from the property. Husmann signed a lease option for wind development about five years ago.
“It's just on the fringe of the city and it's about 10 miles from the center of Piedmont,” Husmann said. “It's halfway between Piedmont and Okarche, about as far as you can get from all of them. It just doesn't seem like a half a mile would make a lot of difference and it would actually bring in money to Piedmont school system, but they're not interested in that.”
Hugh Piatt, who grew up in Piedmont, said his family and neighbors have taken care of the land for generations. Piatt is representing his parents, who are in a nursing home, in the deannexation proposal.
“We are for windmills, don't get me wrong,” Piatt said. “But the people in that northwest corner have taken care of this part of Canadian County for over a hundred years. It's still pristine farm and ranch land, and that's what it's going to be.”
Opponents of wind development also took their concerns to Canadian County commissioners. After several public meetings, commissioners Jan. 14 declined to advance a proposal to create a countywide planning and zoning board for unincorporated areas of the county.