General and Illinois
For months, the county bizarrely fought against the public's right to have access to that information. All 28 Lee County Board members stayed publicly quiet as this happened.
The transcripts were done by a court reporter hired by Mainstream Renewable Power ...The proposed wind farm is controversial. Many neighboring residents don't want it, fearing their property values will decline, among other concerns. They want all the information they can about the project.
The Village of Lee has filed a motion asking that a judge dismiss a lawsuit filed against them by a company that wants to build wind turbines near their borders, and the law firm representing the village of just over 300 people on the western edge of DeKalb County says the village plans to "vigorously" defend against lawsuit by the company building a wind farm mostly in southwest DeKalb County.
"There is a clear conflict of interest here," Timble said. "We have a scenario of too many foxes in the rooster house."
Last month, the county board appointed an 8-member panel to review the county's wind ordinances and examine, among many other items, whether zoning requirements should include longer setbacks from homes.
Stephenson County Circuit Judge Theresa Ursin will assign a new judge to hear a law-suit filed in March seeking to prevent the EcoGrove Wind LLC wind farm from being built northwest of Lena.
"I am going to take this under advisement for the time being," Ursin said in local court Wednesday.
Senate Bill 167, introduced by Sen. John Sullivan, D-Rushville, would allow communities without a zoning ordinance to restrict the development within 1.5 miles of town.
Polz also said two wind farms the company has completed in Wisconsin could not have been built under the proposed regulations. The company, though, wouldn't necessarily consider increasing its business in Illinois, Polz said.
"We're already developing projects in other states," he said. "This would just preclude our business from happening in Wisconsin."
A letter from Hancock County State's Attorney Jim Drozdz sparked a debate about a possible conflict of interest by Hancock County board members Joe Stevenson and Tom Scheetz in their dealings with a windmill manufacturer.
Stevenson and Scheetz have each signed an option agreement with EcoEnergy, a windmill manufacturing company looking to develop a windmill farm in the county. The company plans to issue a site plan in the future which details who receives a windmill. The site plan must be approved by the county board.
Drozdz stated in his letter, dated June 20, he believed there was a conflict of interest by Scheetz and Stevenson when they voted on "matters related to windmill farms."
Details continue to hold up a $260 million wind farm project in Woodford County, where three township boards are squabbling over particulars of legal responsibility with project developers.
The boards of Panola, Greene and Clayton townships, in a special session Saturday, approved a road agreement that they now will present to wind farm developer Navitas Energy.
While representatives from Navitas had not yet looked over the agreement, based on remarks by townships attorney Sheryl Kuzma at the meeting, it appears the pact holds a number of provisions that Navitas likely will reject.
A road agreement reached late Thursday ensures that one of the largest economic development projects ever in Woodford County will happen.
But exactly when the project begins is anyone’s guess.
A road agreement between the township boards of Panola, Clayton, and Greene was reached with Navitas Energy, the developers of a 79-turbine, $260 million wind farm project northeast of Benson.
In it, both sides agreed that any legal liability matters on the township’s roads will be handled by the party that is responsible, a measure that was accepted eagerly by Navitas since it has been a sticking point in negotiations for some time.
According to the agreement, hours of operation would be limited to 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and the turbine will not operate on Sunday or six national holidays.
The parties agreed to settle the case but the document approved by the village board is being reviewed by residents and could change.
The lone wind turbine in Libertyville has riled neighbors and created enough negative energy that the village board decided to put the brakes on any plans for new ones.
While applications can be made, no building permits or zoning certificates for additional turbines will be issued for six months, the village board unanimously decided Tuesday.
"The county ordinance was developed by planning people in many communities," he said. "I think the research done on it was very extensive. We're looking at it (a local wind ordinance) for the protection of our residents but also to allow wind turbines in reasonable circumstances.
Despite earlier concerns from some area residents, a Libertyville company on Friday ceremoniously unveiled a 120-foot wind turbine it will use as an alternative energy source.
Representatives of Aldridge Electric, 844 E. Rockland Road, say the turbine will save the company money and generate cleaner energy.
The temporary ban has been extended six months. Mayor Terry Weppler wants more time to discuss proposed restrictions commissioners want placed on wind turbines.
"I don't want to rule them out completely, but in my opinion the current ordinance almost virtually does," Weppler said.
Whether Illinois can sustain wind farms is still a mystery, according to several spokesmen who have studied the issue.
Roger Brown, the program manager for the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs said the viability of wind farms in Illinois depends on more than just the wind supply. Brown said the price of electricity is also a determining factor.
Wind farm developers made their case for developing a new project in Livingston County on Monday night as hearings for the Minonk Wind Farm began.
About 50 people came to Flanagan Community School to hear a presentation from Gamesa, a Spanish wind farm developer seeking to develop a 100-turbine project in Woodford and Livingston counties.
The board approved a special-use permit for Gamesa, a Spanish wind farm developer, for 25 turbines to be built west of Flanagan. Now Gamesa will wait for word from the Woodford County Board about whether it can build 75 turbines there.
The Spanish company Iberdrola Renewables is expected to begin developing the 155-turbine Streator Cayuga Ridge South Wind Farm this fall. The electricity-producing towers would be scattered across 15,000 acres, primarily between Odell and Emington.
The Livingston County Board approved the project in July.
Construction and maintenance of the project will use 6.25 miles of county roads and 41 miles of township roads, so road use agreements were needed.
The ZBA decided to continue the hearing so it could get more information on how turbines would effect property values.
Real estate appraiser Michael Crowley, who served as an expert for Gamesa during a previous hearing, said the turbines would not have any impact on property values. ZBA member Michael Cornale, however, said a recent wind turbine impact study showed otherwise.
Livingston County recently amended its zoning ordinance to regulate tower height, setback zoning, lighting, noise level, and other variables concerning wind towers. But the county board wants to further regulate wind energy conversion systems before they crop up in Livingston County, and has a committee in place studying the issue.