URBANA—Champaign County Common Pleas Judge Roger Wilson heard arguments Wednesday in the appeal of permits that allowed construction of wind test towers in Union Township.
The test towers could lead to the construction of wind turbines in the area.
Bob and Diane McConnell are appealing the decision by the Union Township Zoning Commission to allow New York-based wind energy developer Everpower to construct a test tower on property adjacent to the McConnells’ land.
They are also appealing the construction on land near Talbot Road of a second test tower by Chicago-based Invenergy.
The towers – nearly 200 feet tall – were temporarily placed on properties in the township to test wind speed to determine if the area would be a good spot for wind turbines.
Springfield-based attorney Lauren Ross, representing the McConnells, argued the wind companies did not adequately follow zoning requirements to get permission to build the temporary structures.
Ross said the wind companies did not provide adequate information to the appeals board and should not have been granted the temporary permit.
Because the test towers are a necessary step in the process to construct wind turbines, then they also should qualify for permission to stand temporarily on private property, said Scott Shockling, assistant prosecutor for Champaign County.
Lawyers for both wind companies requested that Wilson dismiss the appeal, saying the test towers have already been built.
Bob McConnell said he hoped that filing the appeal would slow down the process of construction of the final turbines.
Michael Gladman, attorney for Invenergy, also said that the Invenergy tower is more than 3 miles from the McConnell’s property at 4880 East U.S. Route 36 and is not visible from their property.
He argued that because the McConnells were so far from the Invenergy tower that they were not harmed by its construction.
Everpower has proposed to build several 500-foot turbines throughout Union, Wayne and Salem townships in Champaign County and also through some townships in Logan County.
Wilson said he will file a decision on the appeal by July 6.
By Rick Rouan
28 June 2007
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