Proposed wind turbine zoning proposals from two Logan County townships and a Champaign County township are too restrictive, a committee of the Logan-Union- Champaign Regional Planning Commission decided Thursday.
Jefferson and Rushcreek townships and Union Township in Champaign had submitted proposals at the requests of citizens that would effectively ban wind turbines, prosecuting attorneys from both counties advised the LUC.
Therefore, the zoning laws would be unconstitutional, the chief legal advisers to the townships said in written opinions.
“Courts have generally held that regulation which prohibits the use of land in certain ways is an unconstitutional use of police power unless necessary for the health and safety,” Logan County Prosecutor Gerald Heaton wrote. “Any regulations which purport to reasonably regulate the use of wind turbines when, in fact, they prevent their use, would fall into this category.”
Assistant Champaign County Prosecutor Scott Shockling wrote in his letter, “While a densely populated urban or suburban area that lacks the open space needed for setbacks might be able to ban wind turbines, the ability of a largely rural township with large amounts of open space to do so is doubtful.”
Several companies are eying a ridge that extends from Rushsylvania to Mechanicsburg for wind turbines. The interest has raised the ire of some residents who are compelling their township trustees to consider restrictive zoning measures.
LUC officials asked the attorneys “whether or not wind turbines that are subject to zoning would be able to be zoned so as to not be permitted in a township.”
The proposals included a variety of restrictions including setbacks from property lines and buildings, noise levels, vibrations transmitted to neighboring properties and height restrictions.
Proposals from Jefferson and Rushcreek townships were less restrictive than Union Township on setbacks and on proximity to buildings, but more restrictive on height.
Jefferson and Rushcreek submittals require just 800 feet from a property with a zoning exemption while stipulating the turbine can be no closer than 1,450 feet to a building and no more than 260 feet with special permission.
Union’s potential zoning change would require wind turbines to be 2,600 feet from a building and the surrounding property lines while restricting turbine height to 360 feet with an exemption.
Zoning boards from the townships now will meet to consider the LUC’s recommendation to reject the proposals.
The zoning board will in turn make recommendations to their respective township trustees who can then approve, deny or amend the measure.
By Joel E. Mast
Bellefontaine Examiner Staff Writer
12 May 2007
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding