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Court rejects Boone County wind-farm review

BELVIDERE — A court fight brought by supporters of a Boone County wind farm project can only be against government agencies and not citizen opponents, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Last month, attorneys representing Boone Heritage Wind Farm LLC asked the Boone County Circuit Court to review a county decision that prevented a 15-turbine wind farm from being built on hundreds of acres near Quail Trap and Ramsay roads in rural Boone County.

In October, the Boone County Board voted 8-4 against what would have been the first wind farm in Boone, Winnebago or Ogle counties.

The wind-farm proposal was filed in April in Boone County. It spawned a number of public meetings and more than 23 hours of sometimes heated testimony.

On Wednesday, Circuit Judge Gerald Grubb ruled that any nongovernment defendants named in the Heritage Wind Farm complaint be dismissed. Dozens of residents, some of whom had signed petitions against the project and others who have spoken out against it, were named in the complaint, as were Boone County committees and the Boone County Board.

Boone County State’s Attorney Jim Hursh has asked that the court dismiss the complaint. Rockford attorney Nancy Schilling, a vocal opponent of the project, also has filed a motion to dismiss it. All parties plan to appear in court again Jan. 18.

Project spokesman Wallace Ramsay heads a group of... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
Last month, attorneys representing Boone Heritage Wind Farm LLC asked the Boone County Circuit Court to review a county decision that prevented a 15-turbine wind farm from being built on hundreds of acres near Quail Trap and Ramsay roads in rural Boone County.

In October, the Boone County Board voted 8-4 against what would have been the first wind farm in Boone, Winnebago or Ogle counties.

The wind-farm proposal was filed in April in Boone County. It spawned a number of public meetings and more than 23 hours of sometimes heated testimony.

On Wednesday, Circuit Judge Gerald Grubb ruled that any nongovernment defendants named in the Heritage Wind Farm complaint be dismissed. Dozens of residents, some of whom had signed petitions against the project and others who have spoken out against it, were named in the complaint, as were Boone County committees and the Boone County Board.

Boone County State’s Attorney Jim Hursh has asked that the court dismiss the complaint. Rockford attorney Nancy Schilling, a vocal opponent of the project, also has filed a motion to dismiss it. All parties plan to appear in court again Jan. 18.

Project spokesman Wallace Ramsay heads a group of four Boone County families who make up the wind farm group.

Wind-farm supporters argue that an ordinance created by the county that increases the minimum setback of each turbine from 1,000 to 2,000 feet from any existing residence or lot line is unconstitutional.

They maintain that it also represents an illegal attempt by the County Board to amend county zoning code.

The change effectively prevented most of the 15 wind towers that were planned from being built, even if the board approved the special-use requests.

Grubb asked that Chicago attorneys Nanci Rogers and Ken Florey, who were on hand representing Heritage Wind farm group, to address separately the issue of constitutional-rights violations.

Rogers and Florey, lawyers with Rob­bins, Schwartz, Nicholas, Lifton and Taylor Ltd., asked the judge for an earlier court date noting time was of the essence.

When asked about the statement afterward, Florey said the project is a “positive thing for a lot of people, and we don’t want to delay the positive effect.”

Project supporters say the wind farm is an alternate, low-cost electricity producer that will generate income for landowners, boost the tax base for the county and school district, and prevent urban sprawl.

Opponents fear that the turbines would be too close to neighbors, too close to the Poplar Grove Airport, and that the electricity-producing turbines would create a blight on the rural, yet fast-growing, Boone County landscape.

Source: http://www.rrstar.com/apps/...

DEC 15 2005
http://www.windaction.org/posts/694-court-rejects-boone-county-wind-farm-review
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