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Regulations proposed for wind turbine height, setback distance

URBANA – Proposals for wind turbine regulations to specify setback distances within Union Township were laid out Wednesday night.

The Union Township Zoning Commission had a work session at the county Community Center auditorium, and about 35 area residents attended but were not permitted to talk during the meeting.

Commissioners Bill Runyan, David Hayden, Jeff Channel and Ken Davis voted in favor of all the proposed regulations. Commissioner Don Skillman voted against all but one of the proposals, saying he thought the proposals should be presented in their suggested wording before they were voted upon.

Regulations approved for the preliminary version of the proposal included:

• Establishing a wind turbine setback of 1.2 times the tower height from roads and adjacent property lines, including grouped residential areas collectively zoned as R-1 properties. The same setback distance would apply to the corporation limits of the Village of Mutual.

• Allowing landowners to waive the setback distance from their home.

• Set a maximum height of wind turbines at 500 ft.

Commissioners will format these and other proposed regulations in a format similar to wind farm amendments added to zoning regulations in Logan County’s Monroe Twp.

The proposal will be reviewed at the commission’s next meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 3.

If the proposal is finalized, it will be sent to the Logan-Union-Champaign Regional Planning Commission for review.

The LUC cannot officially act on the proposal, only advise the commission on whether or not to implement it, Champaign County Assistant Prosecutor Scott Schockling said.

Also at the meeting, Runyan said the commission received a second regulations proposal from Union Neighbors United – a group of township residents concerned about the lack of regulations currently.

Runyan said the proposal would be forwarded the LUC for its recommendation.

A public hearing to discuss the proposal was set for Sept. 26

By Natalie Morales

Staff Writer

Springfield News-Sun

6 September 2007