Articles filed under General from Illinois
After almost 2 years of lengthy discussions and sometimes heated debates, the Ogle County Board Tuesday decided not to tighten wind farm restrictions on noise, setbacks and shadow flicker.
The move was made last week by the full county board after originally being proposed in November. It freezes all potential wind project development in the county and allows the zoning ordinance effecting wind farms to be updated.
As a result, Sangamon County is considering a moratorium on wind turbines that could last up to nine months. County officials want to use that time to hold public hearings and find out what area residents want, and whether the zoning rules need to be changed.
Wind industry is being allowed to develop across the United States with few state or federal regulatory fetters and fewer regulations based on empirical studies. Turbines reach the field for installation benefit of huge tax-payer subsidies, but without benefit of government studies, inspections or reviews ordinarily accorded such industrial development. Impacts come to light after a decade of performance and a host of private studies.
Franklin Grove Village President Bob Logan and others argued the county had no evidence that 1,400 feet protects the health and safety of nearby residents - noise and shadow flicker being among their concerns.
Tensions were high at Thursday night's Adams County Board of Zoning and Appeals meeting as a crowd gathered to hear the board's decision regarding a proposed wind test tower being constructed in Adams County.
Unlike other counties in Illinois that already have wind turbines, Vermilion County does not have countywide zoning. In 2008, when local economic development officials began working with wind farm developers interested in the area.
Under the proposed settlement agreement, Aldridge has agreed to limit the hours of operation of the wind turbine from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and to comply with village standards in order to limit noise and address other nuisance concerns of the neighbors.
Bassetti said the company had already admitted its wrongdoing. "They acknowledged they were in the wrong place, or they wouldn't have bought property to fix it," he said. Herrmann said the county would still need a surveyor to testify. Board member Steve Sondgeroth asked if there was any provision in the county's zoning ordinance to pass the costs along to the company, but Herrmann said a general violation of the zoning ordinance just carries a fine.
According to the agreement, hours of operation would be limited to 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and the turbine will not operate on Sunday or six national holidays. The parties agreed to settle the case but the document approved by the village board is being reviewed by residents and could change.
For much of that time, the panel has based its changes on a proposed wind energy ordinance in neighboring Ogle County. Members have made small changes to the Ogle County proposal in many cases. But in more recent meetings, the board seems to be deviating from that procedure.
A Vermilion County Board committee meeting for the county's second wind farm has been scheduled for later this month.
The Iroquois County Board will begin requiring the developers of wind farms to pay $50,000 in financial securities for every wind turbine they build - five times what previously was required - to protect the county in the event a wind farm operator goes bankrupt and abandons its project.
McMahon said he believes the company is moving now to go through the permit process to avoid facing higher permit costs. Currently, GDF SUEZ Energy North America Inc. has paid a permit fee of $47,000, but would be eligible later next year for higher permit fees.
Some counties have shorter setbacks; at least one county's is greater. A few months ago, Brown County in central Illinois voted in a 2,000-foot setback, which may be the state's longest. In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker proposed a statewide 1,800-foot setback.
Ogle County Board members also voted to extend it's wind farm ban until February 2012. This gives the Assessment Planning and Zoning Committee more time to review recommended changes to the county's wind farm ordinances.
Members of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 officially began picketing this week at the Bishop Hill Wind Project currently under construction in Henry County.
About a third of the 96 acres Heartland Community College acquired last year may become home to a power-generating wind turbine. The college's board heard Tuesday a proposal to locate a wind turbine on 35 acres on the north end of the new property and to the west of its current campus buildings at 1500 W. Raab Road, Normal.
I and other farmers and landowners try to get help in fighting this wind farm company, but we get no help. We've lived here for more than 60 years, but a big, rich, communist Chinese company comes in and, in 3 months, runs over the rights of we, the people.
"The lack of a clear U.S. energy policy and resulting uncertainty regarding the market need for renewable energy; "Reduced forecasts for load growth for most of the area utilities due, in no small part, to the economic downturn and the resulting reduction in forecasted need for renewable energy.