A bloc of homeowners sued McLean County this week to halt progress on a planned wind farm near Carlock, claiming public officials denied due process by blocking the views of opponents.
The county board in March granted Invenergy Wind’s request for a special-use permit to construct a 100-turbine White Oak Wind Energy Center straddling the McLean-Woodford county border. Construction could start this summer, pending the approval of building permits and the outcome of this lawsuit.
McLean County Administrator John Zeunik could not comment on the case but noted that the zoning board held lengthy public hearings on the wind farm before recommending approval of the project to the county board. The McLean County Zoning Board of Appeals recommended a special-use permit for the project on Feb. 8 after 12 days of often-heated testimony.
Zeunik referred all questions to assistant state’s attorneys Brian Hug and Eric Ruud, who were out of the office Friday.
The suit – filed by Information is Power, a nonprofit organization of homeowners affected by the development – claims the county denied landowners’ rights to fully express opposition to the project and didn’t seek independent review of Invenergy’s application, according to documents filed in the case. The county slanted proceedings to Invenergy’s favor by changing procedural rules and hearing times and limiting testimony of the opposition to five minutes per person, the complaint states.
By Scott Miller
15 June 2007
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