The Union Township Zoning Commission Board of Appeals voted Tuesday evening to allow a second wind energy company to place a wind measuring device on the property of a township resident.
The board voted five to one in favor of permitting Chicago-based Invenergy to construct the temporary 196-foot tower on the property of Bill and Carol Black at 22049 Talbot Road.
The Blacks contracted with Invenergy for the device to be placed on their property to test wind speeds to determine if the area is viable for the possible future construction of wind turbines, said Black’s son, Paul.
“If the wind’s not there we don’t want any turbines, if it is then built them,” Paul Black said after the meeting.
“People can build houses where ever they want, you’ve got to catch the wind where it blows.”
Invenergy Senior Development Manager Eric Miller said the test towers, which look like thin pole anchored to the ground by angled wires, usually stay in a location for two to six years to gather an adequate sample.
In the variance agreement approved Tuesday, Miller said Invenergy would agree to leave the tower on Black’s property for a maximum of five years.
“You need to have it up for at least 12 months, typically before you can make a relatively accurate assessment,” Miller said.
Three township residents spoke at the meeting, one in favor of test towers and two asking for the approval of the tower to be delayed. Bob McConnell, who lives on property adjacent to the Ault Road property where a wind test tower from New York-based Ever Power was constructed, asked for a delay in the board’s decision until more information could be reviewed about the towers and wind turbines.
“We all need to have an opportunity to have input into what our township should be now and in the future,” McConnell said a the meeting. “Only then will you be able to determine whether a conditional use application for a 196 foot (wind speed testing) tower is or is not an appropriate use of this land.” McConnell’s Springfield-based attorney, Lauren Ross, was not allowed to speak at the meeting because she does not reside in Union Township.
By Natalie Morales
13 June 2007
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