The La Salle County Board Thursday approved a special use to allow Invenergy to construct its proposed Grand Ridge wind farm.
The project is to cover a nearly 6,000-acre area in Brookfield, Allen and Grand Rapids townships – but only take 40 acres of farm land out of production.
The project will involve the erection of 66 wind turbines.
The special use was unanimously approved except for an unexplained abstention by Jerry Myers, R-Streator.
Although three project area residents voiced opposition to the project at the Zoning Board of Appeals hearing last month, none was offered Thursday.
At the nearly six-hour ZBA hearing, County Board member Stephen Carlson, R-Mendota, stayed for the first two hours before leaving for another meeting. Board Chairman Jerry Hicks, D-Marseilles, said he listened to most of the proceeding as they were broadcast into the foyer of the County Board chambers.
At the hearing, Invenergy officials explained the wind turbine units with blades that would reach 389 feet high will be brought to their sites in sections and assembled with the help of cranes on concrete bases. The project will provide jobs for an estimated 150 craftsmen over six to eight months.
Besides electricity and payments to land owners, each turbine is expected to generate $10,000 to $11,000 in property taxes annually, for a total of $660,000 to $700,000 – most of which will be distributed to school districts.
In a related matter, the County Board also approved an agreement regulating the use, maintenance and repair of county roads that will be used for the wind farm project.
By Charles Stanley
10 August 2007
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