Library filed under Zoning/Planning from Illinois
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.
A committee of Vermilion County Board members will discuss this week a moratorium on the construction of any wind farms until the county addresses possible changes to its wind farm ordinance.
More than 10 hours of discussing proposed revisions to Boone County's wind farm regulations haven't led to any decisions. After hearing three more hours of testimony Tuesday night, the zoning board of appeals agreed to continue the public hearing to its Dec. 26 meeting.
Ten of the 19 proposed turbines would violate Bureau County Zoning ordinances, mostly on being too close to homes, property lines and housing communities like Normandy. The developers have asked for variances to these ordinances. It is curious that developers could not find other spots for these 10 turbines in the thousands of surrounding acres.
The county's Planning, Zoning and Building Committee has proposed doubling the distance between a primary structure, like a home, and a wind farm; increasing the number of structures from which windmills must be distanced; and placing language into the ordinance that details how to remove a windmill no longer in service.
Mainstream is proposing nine turbines in far southeastern Whiteside County; all parties agree the county has jurisdiction over seven of them. But the village of Deer Grove asserts that it has power over two, both of which are within 1-1/2 miles of its limits.
Gusse proposed the board cap the number of turbines in the county - something that wouldn't affect current permits. "I think, at some point, we have to say that we have enough," Gusse said. "Maybe we have reached close to saturation." The southeastern part of the county is "pretty well blanketed".