URBANA – Two wind test towers built in Champaign County this year can stay up for now after a decision Friday in a case filed by neighbors of one of the towers.
Champaign County Common Pleas Judge Roger Wilson Friday ruled that the towers, on Talbot and Ault roads, can stay up while the permits that allowed them to be built are appealed.
Wilson Friday also declined to grant motions from two power companies’ attorneys to dismiss the case.
Champaign County residents Bob and Diane McConnell appealed to Wilson’s court the decision by the Union Twp. Zoning Commission to allow New York-based wind energy developer Everpower to build a wind test tower on property adjacent to the McConnells’ Ault Road land. They also appealed a permit for construction of a test tower near Talbot Road by Chicago-based Invenergy.
The test towers are nearly 200-feet tall and are being used to determine if there is enough sustained winds in the region to warrant construction of power-generating wind turbines.
“Given the fact that the towers had been put up so quickly, I’m not surprised that he declined to order to take them down,” said Lauren Ross, attorney for the McConnell’s.
Ross said she next wants to request documents from the companies and zoning board to continue the case.
Joe Miller, attorney for Everpower, said he was satisfied with Friday’s ruling.
“We’re confident of a positive outcome,” Miller said.
Attorneys for Invenergy did not comment on the decision.
Everpower has proposed to build several 500-foot turbines throughout Union, Wayne and Salem townships in Champaign County and also through portions of Logan County.
By Rick Rouan
6 July 2007
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