The Union Township Zoning Commission has drafted preliminary zoning regulations for proposed wind turbines.
Everpower Renewables, a New York-based developer of wind energy projects, has met with the zoning commission and township landowners to propose constructing at least 10 wind turbines on the east side of Champaign County.
Each turbine can produce two to three megawatts of energy that could power about 8,000 homes annually, the company said.
Zoning Commission members said they do not have authority to approve the project but had to create guidelines for possible construction.
The commission modeled its regulations on Monroe Township in Logan County, which has spent a year preparing for the installation of wind-energy towers.
Discussion Wednesday focused on the required distance between the 400-foot wind turbine and a residence.
Initially, the draft stated a turbine would have a 500-foot buffer, but Linda Gordon, a homeowner, said that was too close and urged that it be at least 2,000 feet away.
“It’s like looking at a Twin Tower,” Gordon said. “Every time I look out my picture window, I’ll have to see that thing humming outside my property.”
Commission members said that distance would not only prevent farmers with only 80-acres of land from placing a turbine on their property, but make it impossible to construct them within the township.
The commission reached a consensus on having the turbines set 1,000 feet away from a residence and 500 feet from a roadway. Everpower representative Michael Speerschneider said this could ease some concerns because the height could be imposing in some residential areas.
The commission will hold a public hearing on the draft regulations at 7 p.m. April 18 in the Union Township Building.
By LaToya Thompson
15 March 2007
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