A regional planning commission denied Union Twp.’s wind turbine zoning resolution Thursday, calling the proposal “too restrictive.”
The Logan-Union-Champaign (LUC) Regional Planning Commission’s zoning and subdivision committee said the setback and tower height regulations are too strict.
The proposal, submitted to the township zoning board by Union Twp. residents, regulates wind towers to a minimum of 2,600 feet from a building and property line. Also, it restricts the turbine height to no more than 360 feet.
Everpower Renewables, a New York-based wind energy developer, has proposed constructing 500-foot wind turbines on the east side of Champaign County – Union, Wayne and Salem townships. The company has placed a test tower in the township to monitor potential wind speed.
Everpower could begin construction in two years.
LUC also denied wind turbine regulations proposed by Rushcreek and Jefferson townships in Logan County for the same reasons it did for Union Twp.
The LUC recommended the Union Twp. Zoning Commission work with the Champaign County Prosecutor’s Office to draft wind turbine regulations or join the Logan County Wind Turbine Committee. The committee is in the process of making zoning regulations that townships can model after.
“There must be a direct correlation between a zoning regulation and health, safety and welfare,” Champaign County Assistant Prosecutor Scott Schockling wrote in a letter to LUC. “If a regulation is stricter than is necessary, it is subject to challenge as exceeding a township’s authority to regulate land use.”
The Union Twp. Zoning Commission will meet in a special meeting at 7 p.m., May 22, in the Champaign County Community Center auditorium, 1512 S. U.S. Route 68, Urbana.
The board will review the LUC recommendations and allow for public comment.
Based on the regional commission’s vote and other input, the board will make a recommendation to the trustees.
The trustees will then vote to approve, deny or amend the board’s proposal.
By LaToya Thompson
11 May 2007
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