Library filed under Zoning/Planning from Illinois
Darrell Cambron of Rankin, one of the longtest-running residents to voice concerns, spoke to the board and indicated reviewing the wind ordinance was “right and fair thing to do.” Ted Hartke of Hope, who also has spoken out regarding the wind turbines and ordinance, said the board “must make adjustments to correct” the ordinance.
More than 10 years ago, a proposed mega-sized hog farm had some Vermilion County residents calling for zoning. Next, it was a proposed medical waste incinerator. Now, it's wind farms.
For more than a year, several members of the public have been repeatedly asking the board to reconsider its wind ordinance. In the absence of zoning, the county board adopted an ordinance stipulating some safety issues regarding wind turbines.
Champaign County Board members have gone on record as being opposed to legislation in Springfield that they contend would weaken their oversight of wind farms. In a unanimous voice vote, board members approved a resolution opposing Senate Bill 3263, proposed by Sen. John Sullivan, D-Rushville.
Sullivan said he is aware that his proposed law, which is an initiative of the Illinois Farm Bureau, is not looked upon favorably by some counties, specifically those that want to retain local control over wind farms. Wind-energy advocates are also not supportive of the measure. However, Sullivan thinks the change would help bring consistency to Illinois’ wind-farm rules, which vary greatly by county.
During the meeting, Vince Green, representing Mainstream Renewables changed his tune when he realized his company was “on the ropes”. He said that his company was ready to come to the negotiation table to “voluntarily” increase setbacks from wind turbines in relationship to homes. His last ditch effort to salvage the marketability of the project showed that Mainstream Renewables may only be saying whatever it takes to keep hope alive. Mainstream Renewables is known for “flipping” projects for a short-term gain.
Members split the vote 6-6 on increasing the minimum distance that wind turbines must be located from property lines. The proposal failed by a single vote. Applicants interested in obtaining a special use permit to build a specific project must have the approval of the majority of members present for the measure to pass. If the vote is split evenly again, development will not happen.
Mainstream Renewable Power is proposing a project with up to 100 wind turbines for 8,000 acres bordered by North Boone School Board on the south, Grade School Road to the west, Wisconsin state line on the north and McHenry County line to the east. Opponents presented each board member with a stack of petitions signed by 1,300 people who don't want the development.
Alt said there have been residents from within all the area wind farms voicing concerns with noise and other issues. He said not all their stories are the same, but they are close, and he can't believe they are all making it up. The wind companies disagree with such claims, and board members have challenged them for proof. "And I can't see why we should OK something that draws this much controversy from people who don't have anything to do with them."
The revisions call for the wind ordinance to be changed so that the setback between turbines and nonparticipating primary structures - or homes located on property not being leased for a wind farm - be increased from 1,500 feet to a distance equivalent to 12 times the rotar diameter.
In November the Boone County Zoning Board of Appeals recommended the setback for wind turbines be 1,500 feet from property lines. However, the board sent the ordinance back to committee for more hearings ..."They thought (the setbacks) should be three times the height of the turbine," she said of the county board.
Commercial wind turbines built in Iroquois County might soon need to be located almost a full mile from homes on property not being leased to a wind farm operator.
Vermilion County Board officials clearly heard what the current WECS project has done to many rural residents. Families know their property values and physical health have declined while the dominating effects of these industrial machines have ignored property lines, invaded homes and split neighborhoods.
On Friday, Rockford attorney Rick Porter, who is representing Hamilton Township, informed Lee County of the township board's Dec. 11 decision to file an objection to the wind farm, known as the Green River project. ...By Porter's reading of the law, the township's written objection now means the project needs a three-fourths County Board majority for passage.
The extension also allows the project to adhere to parameters set out in Vermilion County's original wind ordinance, requiring turbines to be 1,000 feet from a primary structure, which includes houses.
John Alexander, chairman of the panel, said that setbacks are really the one area where the county has some authority. Alexander said residents who live as far as 1,600 feet or more from turbines have testified that they are affected by the noise. But the panel also discussed that if the setbacks are increased more than the existing 1,200 feet, it could eliminate any further development for wind energy.
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.
The issue of wind turbines remained up in the air on Thursday as the panel assembled to discuss the issue adjourned without a decision. Selected county board members as well as other community representatives meet at noon Thursday to discuss comments and information provided by residents who attended a public forum on Monday regarding wind turbines.
Wind turbine towers on lots less than one acre can be no taller than the height of the home, plus 10 percent. The tallest allowed is 125 feet, and those only on lots of five acres or more. None can be located in the front yard.
Once upon a time, getting approval for a wind farm in Lee County was relatively simple. Those days are gone. For the latest proposal to build wind turbines, the county had 26 meetings that took up 65 hours.