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Woodford must wait for answers; County Board won't vote on gravel pit, wind farm or racing ordinance yet  

EUREKA – A decision on three highly controversial issues that have had dozens – hundreds in one case – of Woodford County residents up in arms will have to wait.

The much anticipated votes from the Woodford County Board on a proposed gravel pit near Spring Bay, a wind farm west of El Paso and on amending the ordinance regulating motor vehicle races and stunts will not take place at the Nov. 20 meeting because each issue has “unresolved elements that prevent the County Board from making a fully informed decision,” County Administrator Gregory Jackson said Friday.

A group of rural Spring Bay residents complaining of noise and dirt versus those concerned about the recreational use of motorcycles and ATVs has led the county to consider a nuisance ordinance to “strike a balance,” Jackson said.

The county – first prompted a year ago by snowmobile races and then again this summer by a homemade dirt race track where dozens of trucks and motorcycles could be heard revving engines and spewing dust and dirt – was looking for some remediation. Officials were working to put a mechanism in place to enforce the racing ordinance – already a state statute – outlawing motor vehicle races or competitions involving time, speed, maneuverability and a host of other factors, hoping that would curb the problems.

But motorcycle and off-roading enthusiasts countered, saying the law was too far reaching and could be understood to outlaw even two people riding alongside one another.

The county’s planning and zoning committee will decide Tuesday whether to move ahead with one or both, but officials say the outcome won’t come before the board until December.

Another controversial subject will continue to twist in the wind.

The County Board was set to vote on whether to issue a special-use permit to Navitas Energy to move forward on a 40-turbine wind farm development west of El Paso.

The project won approval from the county’s Zoning Board of Appeals in August despite objections from dozens of area residents and a plea from the city of El Paso to keep the turbines a distance from its limits.

What’s holding up the project, however, is the lack of an agreement between Navitas and road commissioners from El Paso, Palestine and Greene townships about their roads. The county’s ZBA recommendation called for an agreement to be in place as a determining factor.

Jackson said both sides have yet to find any middle ground. The townships reportedly have asked the company for $1.4 million.

And while residents in the western part of the county won out last month with the ZBA’s recommendation to deny rezoning land for a proposed gravel pit near Spring Bay, the final say from the County Board also likely will come in December.

Jackson said a record of the seven public hearings taken by court reporters has yet to be transcribed, adding the testimonial evidence must be available for review by the board prior to a vote.

By Dave Haney

Peoria Journal Star

12 November 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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