Library filed under Zoning/Planning from Illinois
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".
The Village Board unanimously approved an ordinance Tuesday that prohibits electric-generating wind devices from being located within the village, said village Trustee Anthony Stepansky. However, residents living within a 1.5-mile radius of the community can. The device cannot be taller than 75 feet and must generate power that is exclusive to the property.
This week, members of a Lee County Board ad hoc committee recommended that turbines be 2,000 feet from nonparticipating landowners' property lines. Such a move would effectively shut out wind energy development in Lee County, one company says.
The proposed ordinance on wind energy keeps the same required distance between homes and wind turbines – 1,400 feet. Unlike the current ordinance, the new one includes regulations for shadow flicker and a program to protect the values of nearby homes.
The Lee County Zoning Board ...blatantly ignored its statutory responsibilities by recommending that the current 12-year-old, 1,400-foot setback distance between homes and wind turbines remain unchanged. ...this recommendation was made with absolutely no consideration or compassion for the harmful health effects that today's huge wind turbines would wreak upon Township families.
The Woodford County Board meeting room was expected to be packed Tuesday night because of an anticipated vote regarding wind farm ordinance revisions. ...A vote on the wind farm ordinance revisions is the final step in a lengthy process that has at times been contentious, both within the board and outside of it.
Miller stated that after commissioners have reviewed the group's concerns, a recommendation will be made to the planning commission as to any changes commissioners feel should be addressed.
Major ordinance changes involve the positioning of wind turbines and the shadow their blades cast. Towers would need to be located at least four times their height from residences that aren't part of the wind farm. A typical tower can be taller than 400 feet. Currently, the regulated distance is at least 750 feet.
The county's current setback distance is 1,400 feet, which is a little more than a quarter mile, the same as Whiteside County's. Some people have said that's too close. At a recent meeting, Zoning Board member Tom Fassler suggested a mile.
A group of wind-energy opponents is urging village officials to create their own zoning regulations, a measure that would allow the town to keep wind farms from being built on farmland immediately outside its boundaries.
A proposal to protect the property values of homes near wind turbines is gaining support. Two of the five members of the Lee County Zoning Board of Appeals, which is reviewing the county's wind energy ordinance, said at their meeting Thursday that they backed a home seller protection program for residents near turbines.
Committee member Ron VonHolten suggested several changes, including eliminating a section that would have allowed shadow flicker problems to be addressed with plantings or awnings. He also said complaints should include shutting down the turbine from 10 p.m. until 7 a.m. until the problem is fixed. "If it's noise issues, you can't say, ‘Well, in 60 days, I get to sleep,'" he said.