It might not be in perfect harmony, but a proposed wind farm and a planned lakeside subdivision hope to coexist together in Livingston County.
Plans to ban wind turbines within 1.5 miles of Chatsworth city limits with not stop Chicago-based Invenergy Wind from erecting the Pleasant Ridge Wind Farm nearby, a company representative said Tuesday.
Meanwhile, developers of a 900-acre lakeside subdivision in Chatsworth also expect to move forward, despite concerns that the wind farm could make the land a tough sell.
Invenergy has agreements with landowners to lease about 12,000 acres for a wind farm stretching from north of Forrest and Chatsworth to just south of Illinois 24 in Livingston County, said Joel Link, the company’s director of business development.
Invenergy wants about 20,000 acres to build a 266-turbine wind farm to churn out 266 megawatts of power, he said.
Neither Chatsworth officials nor developers of the Oliver’s Crossing subdivision have welcomed those plans.
Town President Richard Pearson said city officials agreed in principle to adopt an ordinance Oct. 17 to ban turbines within 1.5 miles of city limits to protect the scenic views of Oliver’s Crossing, a 900-acre development that could generate home values in excess of $100 million. The city has annexed nearly all of that property.
While the setback requirement would cut noise pollution from the wind farm, the towers would still be visible from about 20 miles away, Link noted.
“We don’t have final plans in place yet, and we’re willing to work with (the developer of the subdivision). But if a landowner is eager to hoist a turbine, there’s no reason they shouldn’t benefit from that,” added Link, saying some area residents welcome the wind farm and hope to earn money leasing land to Invenergy.
But Oliver’s Crossing Corp. is worried about losing money.
The family-owned company plans to develop a 200-acre man-made lake and sell up to 600 surrounding lots for home construction.
Jerry Kurtenbach, one of the owners, said the wind farm could make it harder to sell those lots.
At this point, he said, the project will move forward unless lenders pull out because of the wind farm. So far, he hasn’t heard any concerns from them.
Workers could begin constructing the dam for the lake in six months, Kurtenbach said, and home construction could begin in a year.
Construction of the wind farm, meanwhile, is far off. Invenergy won’t file applications for county permits any earlier than next spring, Link said, and the company still needs to conduct environmental studies. Construction would be done in phases over several years, he said.
By Scott Miller
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