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DeWitt County considering wind farm approval

CLINTON — The DeWitt County Board is considering a special use permit to allow the county’s first wind farm to build in three northwestern townships near Waynesville and Wapella.

UPDATE:The County Board voted 6-5 to ACCEPT the special use application.

The board held a special meeting on the Square in downtown Clinton. A decision had not been reached at press time. Visit pantagraph.com for full coverage and video of the meeting.

If approved, Tradewind Energy will move forward with plans to build up to 66 towers no higher than 599 feet for the Alta Farms II project. Construction could begin later this year.

In April 2019, the board rejected Tradewind Energy’s first application, after board members criticized it for not being complete and having too many unanswered questions.

“Tonight is the accumulation of a long process that began back in August of 2019,” said Tom Swierczewski, lead developer of the project. “It included many nights of meetings and discussions with the Regional Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals. It included 17 nights and testimony from over 200 people.

"Everyone’s voice has been heard... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

CLINTON — The DeWitt County Board is considering a special use permit to allow the county’s first wind farm to build in three northwestern townships near Waynesville and Wapella.

UPDATE: The County Board voted 6-5 to ACCEPT the special use application.

The board held a special meeting on the Square in downtown Clinton. A decision had not been reached at press time. Visit pantagraph.com for full coverage and video of the meeting.

If approved, Tradewind Energy will move forward with plans to build up to 66 towers no higher than 599 feet for the Alta Farms II project. Construction could begin later this year.

In April 2019, the board rejected Tradewind Energy’s first application, after board members criticized it for not being complete and having too many unanswered questions.

“Tonight is the accumulation of a long process that began back in August of 2019,” said Tom Swierczewski, lead developer of the project. “It included many nights of meetings and discussions with the Regional Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals. It included 17 nights and testimony from over 200 people.

"Everyone’s voice has been heard and all of the questions have been answered. This application meets all six of the necessary requirements for the special use permit.”

One board member, Cole Ritter, whose abstention from the April 2019 vote because of a conflict of interest had in effect counted as a vote against the project, did not attend the Tuesday meeting. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

About 200 people attended the meeting, including many who opposed the project.

“The RPC and the ZBA have again denied approval and please take their recommendations and vote no,” said Jodi Turney, a DeWitt County resident. “This will cause undue hardship on our family.”

“If this application is approved, the enforceability of this ordinance is clearly in question,” said Phil Luetkehans, an attorney for some of the opponents of the wind farm.

“It has made clear that a non-participating owner’s rights will be violated with this project,” said Andrea Rhoades, also of DeWitt County.

Don Waddell, also of rural DeWitt County, said he is concerned about radar from the National Weather Service.

“A town like Wapella would be in danger if the turbines interfere with the radar, which we know that they will because they have in the past in other areas, such as Maroa,” he said.

The board held off on a vote last month because not all members could meet in the same room, due to social distancing regulations.

Because the state is in Phase 4 of the recovery plan, the board decided to have the meeting outdoors, and allowed both supporters and the opponents, limited time to present arguments prior to the vote.


Source: https://www.pantagraph.com/...

JUL 15 2020
http://www.windaction.org/posts/51496-dewitt-county-considering-wind-farm-approval
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