Library from Illinois
Faced with mammoth amounts of information — studies, reports, comments from citizens — the Douglas County Board has pushed back a final vote on whether to let a wind farm set up shop. The board was scheduled to rule Monday on Texas-based EDP Renewables' application to build the Harvest Ridge Wind Farm in Newman and Murdock townships.
CLINTON — A $300 million wind farm will not be coming to DeWitt County. The DeWitt County Board voted 6-5 with one abstention Thursday night against a special-use permit from Tradewind Energy. The vote was taken after a two-hour meeting before a crowd of about 300 people at Clinton High School. Previously, the county's Zoning Board of Appeals and Regional Planning Commission also rejected the plan.
Board member and chairman of the county’s land use committee, Terry Ferguson, created some moments of suspense, when he introduced a series of conditions to attach to the motion to grant the special use permit. Conditions often are added to motions to try to ensure a project is conducted in accordance with county objectives. Ultimately, after some hesitation, Ferguson voted against granting the permit, creating a 6-5 vote with one abstention and failure of the motion.
Speakers addressed possible mechanical failures with wind turbines; noise; “shadow flickers” from turbine blades and other health effects; karst geology in the bluffs; other environmental issues such as wildlife and groundwater; property values; roads and other infrastructure; and “setbacks,” the required distances between turbines and homes, other structures and roadways. “There are too many what-ifs (with the current ordinance) to protect the taxpayers and the residents of our county,” said Rich Harsey, 47, of rural Waterloo.
The Illinois Senate has passed and sent to Gov. J.B. Pritzker a bill aimed at resolving a conflict in eastern Illinois over which unit of local government has authority to control zoning for wind farms. House Bill 2298 provides that only a county may enact zoning regulations for wind farms in the rural parts of a county, outside the zoning jurisdiction of incorporated cities, even in counties that don’t have countywide zoning regulations.
Some Illinois lawmakers want to rush through legislation that would change the dynamic for a plan to erect dozens of wind turbines in central Illinois. ...The measure would restrict wind farm regulations outside of a municipality to the county alone, excluding townships.
The DeWitt County Zoning Board of Appeals voted to recommend the DeWitt County Board reject the proposal of Tradewind Energy's Alta Farms II Wind Project in the northwest corner of DeWitt County at a special meeting of the ZBA at Clinton High School Tuesday night.
Members of the DeWitt County Board will be in the hot seat next month after the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) voted Tuesday to recommend the county deny a special use permit for the Alta Farms wind energy project. The ZBA voted 5-1 to send the matter to the full board for final consideration with a recommendation to not grant the permit.
Loveall, who bought his home in the Kempton area in June 2018, said Gibson told him the television-reception problems he has experienced were the home seller’s fault for nondisclosure. Gibson, meanwhile, did not tell him about the settlements the company reached with area homeowners so they could pay for alternative sources of television.
Some Douglas County residents will travel to Springfield on Thursday in hopes of testifying about proposed legislation clarifying zoning rules concerning wind farms. Specifically, the bill aims to officially establish that county wind-farm regulations would supersede township rules even in counties that have no zoning regulations.
“But it will probably be at least May” at the earliest, said Randy Ferguson, a Gibson City resident who chairs the five-member committee, “because (County Clerk & Recorder) Amy (Frederick) has an election (in April) and (State’s Attorney) Andrew (Killian) has a bunch of court dates coming up. So the next stage is going to be slowed because of that.”
Area residents recently weighed in on the proposed project to decommission and repower the Big Sky Wind Farm in Lee and Bureau counties. The 240-megawatt wind farm was built in 2010 and went online in 2011 with 114 turbines stretching across roughly 14,000 acres, with 58 in southern Lee County and 56 in Bureau County near Ohio.
Opponents of the planned Alta Farms wind energy project received support Tuesday from some experts, including a physicist with a meteorological background.
A recommendation from the DeWitt County Zoning Board of Appeals on the controversial DeWitt County wind farm proposal could come this week after the final four public meetings that begin on Tuesday.
"The Jacksonville Journal Courier estimated that Jacksonville Public Schools would get about $75,000 in the very first year. ...When you put that into perspective and look at those dollars compared to annual budgets, we have an annual budget of right around $38 million a year. $75,000 a year I don’t think is enough to make an advertisement that’s saying that the local community is going to benefit at a number of $43.8 million,” Ptacek explains.
GIBSON CITY — The more-restrictive setbacks and other new regulations for wind farms currently under consideration by the Ford County Board could make it “extremely difficult, if not impossible,” for Apex Clean Energy to build its proposed 250-megawatt Ford Ridge Wind Farm in the Gibson City and Sibley areas, a company representative said Thursday. However, J.J. Stone, a project manager for the Charlottesville, Va.-based firm, said that even if the board approves the new rules, a smaller version of the wind farm could still be built.
The board’s five-member zoning committee drafted a proposed revision to the county’s ordinance regulating wind farms last Friday in order to protect the value of non-participating landowners’ property. Under the proposal, before a special-use permit is issued for a wind farm, the owner/operator of the wind farm must guarantee to pay the difference if any non-participating property within two miles of the wind farm ends up being sold for less than its fair cash value or assessed value.
Almost everybody has an opinion on it, said Steve Wills, Brandi's husband. A member of the band X-Krush, Steve and Brandi co-own the BP, along with other family members. "It's growing to be a bigger topic day by day," he said, adding that there are pros and cons. He believes the turbines will be a blight on the landscape, but he won't be living next door to one.
Opposing sides for a proposed wind farm in DeWitt County say they are prepared for up to 35 hours of scheduled meetings before the Zoning Board of Appeals, beginning Tuesday night at Clinton High School. “It’s going to be a long month,” said Andrea Rhoades, a rural DeWitt County resident who opposes the project.
With 10 of its 12 members present, the board voted 9-1 in favor of a proposal to restrict wind turbines from being built any closer than 2,250 feet from a property line. The measure, part of a larger package of ordinance revisions that will be up for approval once finalized, is designed to protect rural residents from the low-frequency noise and shadow flicker, among other nuisances, that turbines can create.