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Boone wind-farm backers file court challenge to county ruling  

BELVIDERE — Supporters of a proposed wind farm that was rejected by the Boone County Board last month are challenging the county’s decision in court.

Attorneys representing Boone Heritage Wind Farm LLC filed a request Monday for an administrative review of the decision in Boone County Circuit Court. It asks that the court reverse the county’s decision. Project spokesman Wallace Ramsay heads a group of four Boone County families who have lodged the complaint.

Wind-farm supporters argue that an ordinance created by the county that increases the minimum setback of each turbine from 1,000 to 2,000 feet from any existing residence or lot line is unconstitutional. They maintain that it also represents an illegal attempt by the County Board to amend county zoning code.

The change effectively prevented most of the 15 wind towers that were planned from being built even if the board approved the special-use requests.

Boone County State’s Attorney Jim Hursh had not yet seen the complaint late Monday afternoon and could not comment on it. Chi-cago attorney Nanci Rogers, of Rob­bins, Schwartz, Nicholas, Lif-ton and Taylor Ltd., who repre­sents the Heritage Wind farm group, said the court has 35 days to hear from all parties involved in the case.

The wind-farm proposal was filed in April in Boone County. It spawned a number of public meetings and more than 23 hours of sometimes heated testimony.

The County Board voted 8-4 Oct. 12 against the special-use requests, which could have created the county’s first wind farm on an 800-acre tract near Quail Trap and Ramsay roads.

Supporters say the wind farm is an alternate, low-cost electricity producer that will generate in­-come for landowners, boost the tax base for the county and school district, and prevent urban sprawl.

Opponents fear that the turbines would be too close to neighbors, too close to the Poplar Grove Airport, and that the electricity-producing turbines would create a blight on the rural, yet fast-growing, county’s landscape.

Contact: rbaxter@rockford.gannett.com; 815-544-3452


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