By a 3-2 vote, the Zoning Board of Appeals recommended denial of Ireland-based Mainstream Renewable Power's proposed 53 turbines. The County Board, which meets May 21, has the final say.
The decision ended a decade in which the wind energy industry largely drove the county's approval process.
No one should bank on it, but the Lee County Zoning Board of Appeals might finally dig its teeth into the biggest issue related to wind energy regulations.
That would be the required distance between wind turbines and homes.
On Dec. 15, the panel spent the last 10 minutes of its 2-hour meeting looking at the setback issue.
Ireland-based Mainstream has indicated it would keep $13,721 on hand for the possible decommissioning of the 53-turbine wind farm. But opponents say the cost of taking down the turbines would cost millions.
Whiteside County's zoning panel on Wednesday unanimously recommended the approval of a wind farm in the county's southeastern corner.
The decision followed more than 2 months of public hearings, including much feedback from nearby residents opposed to the project.
The nine-member panel will be weighing public comments made during Monday night's public hearing in Potomac, which was scheduled by county officials in response to several citizens calling for changes to the county's ordinance, especially increasing the distance a wind turbine can be built from houses and other structures.
The county's current setback distance is 1,400 feet, which is a little more than a quarter mile, the same as Whiteside County's.
Some people have said that's too close. At a recent meeting, Zoning Board member Tom Fassler suggested a mile.
After hearing an end to both public comments and closing arguments, the Logan County Zoning Board of Appeals tonight will make a decision on whether to grant a conditional-use permit to allow Horizon Wind Energy to construct 29 wind turbines in northern Logan County.
The board also has the option of adding conditions to the permit, including a property value guarantee proposed by Union Ridge Wind attorney Rick Porter. ...Catherine Fogler, a representative from Union Ridge Wind, voiced her final concerns to the board. Fogler said she has medical problems, which, she added, are very expensive, and giving up value on her property was not a risk she could take.
"We did not make a bad decision (regarding our property)," said Fogler. "The decision was made by others.
Under the regulations approved Tuesday, the setbacks of 250 percent would be required for towers with heights ranging from 175 feet to the maximum of 400 feet.
The County Board is expected to discuss and vote on the recommended regulations next Tuesday.
Today, only a couple of small mining areas in the county still are listed as active by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' Office of Mines and Minerals. It's the mines no longer in use, however, that have the attention of future energy providers. ...The problems that can occur when building over a mine exist in a few places in southern Vermilion County. ...and the ground underneath has sunk.
The Paxton City Council concurred with a plan commission recommendation for new city restrictions on where wind turbines can be built outside city limits. Now turbines cannot be put up within half a mile of the city limits on Paxton's northeast side or within one mile of the city's other three sides. Previously, under a Ford County ordinance, turbines could be built as close as 1,500 feet to the city.
The city's plan commission has recommended that the Paxton City Council not regulate wind farms within 1½ miles of the city limits.
The state allows municipalities jurisdiction over that marginal area, but the commission recommended that Ford County regulate it. The county's wind farm ordinance prohibits erecting the wind turbines closer than 1,500 feet from the boundaries of any platted community within the county.
The city of Lincoln stands to gain $150,000 in revenue from the Rail Splitter Wind Farm, which is proposed for construction on land miles away from the city limits.
But, at a $5,000 annual payment by the wind farm, it will take 30 years to earn that much revenue. At the moment, the city only has a guarantee to receive the annual payments through 2017, when the Lincoln-Logan County Enterprise Zone is due to expire. ...Bottom line, the amount of money Lincoln City Hall will receive pales in comparison to the $250,000 payment the wind farm will make to the city of Pekin.
Illinois’ senators said Friday that they no longer are blocking President Bush’s nominee for a Pentagon post after learning from the Defense Department that one of its recent report won’t be detrimental to wind farms in their state.
Tuesday's session of the hearing by the Zoning Board of Appeals marked the end of about a dozen hours of testimony, evidence, opinion, and questions-and-answers presented to that board about the first wind farm proposed for Livingston County, an up-to 155-turbine Cayuga Ridge South Wind Farm. The towers would be on 15,000 acres east of Interstate 55 and between Odell and Emington. ...Ewing's testimony was followed by an Ellsworth-area resident who lives near the in-operation Twin Groves wind farm.
"Living with turbines has caused us to change many things in the way we live," including closing windows and relying on air conditioning in the summer, Rene Taylor said. She also said the turbines near her created "excessive noise" last winter and when wind speed exceeded 25 mph the turbines "sound roaring like a train" across her property.
The rest of the board agreed with the half-dozen residents who spoke at the meeting that the wind turbine wasn't appropriate for the area, which is known for its scenic river views and abundant wildlife, including eagles and other migratory birds.
Whitlock says the success of the first phase is also prompting investors to consider expanding beyond initial expectations, to possibly add as many as 140 more turbines. A third phase could have as many as 40 more turbines, on top of 120 already proposed. Depending on results of wind tests that could begin in a few months, Whitlock says investors could develop a fourth-phase with 100 turbines if they can negotiate with land owners living north of Route 9.
"Once we get the power sold, then we can put together the financing to pay for the $70M Phase One and balance of Phase Two. That is the last piece of the puzzle," Goede said. "Our expectation, our goal, our plan is to have power sold or some transaction like that in place in the next three months, no later than the end of January."
The Pike County Board wants to make sure money's in place to decommission wind farm turbines.
Board members Monday adopted a measure requiring developers to provide a surety bond when submitting a wind farm application.
Plan commissioners are set to discuss an amendment to a wind turbine ordinance and the development of the Lake County Government Center Libertyville campus at Monday's plan commission meeting. ...The village board in September approved a moratorium on wind turbine construction.
Roy Douglas knows it will not be too long before his family loses its five-generation farm to encroaching development ...but right now, he is more worried about losing the horizon and his peace of mind to the university's proposal to build up to three 400-foot wind turbines on the land across the street, less than 1,000 feet from his front door.