Articles filed under Impact on Economy from Illinois
FREEPORT - Attorneys Monday debated the merits of a homeowner protection plan for the two wind farms proposed for the area at a meeting of the Stephenson County Planning and Development Committee. At issue Monday was a draft version of the plan, which is designed to set up terms by which the wind-farm companies would compensate adjacent homeowners who experience a loss in property value due to the wind towers. After discussing the plan with attorneys representing the wind-farm companies and objectors to the project, the committee voted Monday to lay the issue over until next month’s meeting. Jeff Mikkelsen, chairman of the committee, recommended committee members take a month to review the draft version of the plan, and also to consider amendments offered by various parties.
As Stephenson County officials work to create a homeowner protection plan for the two proposed wind farms for this area, some objectors to the project are concerned a draft version of the plan does not sufficiently protect residents who experience property value loss. Currently, the plan is in draft form and may be changed as participants continue to discuss the terms of the document, said Terry Groves, director of planning and zoning for the county. The plan, which is also known as a “home-seller protection agreement,” will be discussed at the next county Planning and Development Committee meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 5 at the county courthouse. County officials, the wind-farm companies, and landowners are providing input on the plan’s creation, officials said. Groves said it’s unclear whether the committee will approve the document at its next meeting, or whether it will undergo further revisions. To Groves, the document as it stands now is “fair” to all parties involved......... The main purpose of the plan is to set up specific terms by which the wind-farm companies would have to compensate adjacent homeowners who experience a loss in property value due to the wind towers. At this time, the plan only covers homes that are within 2,000 feet of a wind tower, but this figure has not yet been finalized, Groves said.
An energy and environmental consultant hired by opponents of the proposed White Oak Wind Energy Center maintains Invenergy Wind LLC fails to meet several requirements for a special-use permit for the wind farm. Tom Hewson of Energy Ventures Analysis Inc., Arlington, Va., spoke to the McLean County Zoning Board of Appeals during a hearing Wednesday night. He said the proposed 100-turbine wind farm in McLean and Woodford counties would be a detriment to the public because of noise levels and visibility. Hewson said he did a “simple approach” simulation of one turbine to see how far a person had to be away from the turbine before it complied with Illinois’ noise regulations. “At 750 feet away, it exceeded the range,” he said, noting that three property owners have asked for waivers to allow a turbine in about that range. Hewson said it wasn’t until a person was 1,200 feet away from the turbine that the noise met Illinois’ requirements.
Mr. Yeoman criticizes my assertion about property values because, “real estate personnel…near Paw Paw have found no effect on property values.” I stated that a study was, “skewed because many of the wind farms were near communities that were already economically depressed, where property values could go no lower…” Certainly, that is true of an agricultural community like Paw Paw, where the crops grown determine the value of property, and not the potential for future residential development.
Industrial Wind Action Group, a nationally based grass-roots effort, claims companies are exaggerating the amount of megawatts wind farm projects can produce by giving maximum output figures instead of more concise estimates.
Challenging incorrect “popular wisdom” is difficult but, in this case, well worth the effort!