While homeowners and farmers in the path of proposed high-voltage power lines harbor mixed feelings about Lee County’s newest wind-farm project, an unexpected development tumbled out of the county Planning Commission on Monday night.
The five-member panel promised a rural Amboy resident, whose 4-acre property soon will have transmission lines hanging 300 feet from his home, to take a closer look at the ordinances governing privately owned power lines.
“You’ve hit on a hot-button issue,” Bill O’Keefe, the Planing Commission’s chairman, told Doug Kreiser, who lives along state Route 26.
The county has actively courted wind-farm development as a source of added tax revenue and passive income for landowners, but constructing transmission lines “is something that kind of slipped through the cracks,” O’Keefe said.
“We may have more private transmission lines in the years to come than any other county in the state,” O’Keefe said.
This newest proposed project has obtained permits from the County Board and developers aim to break ground in spring, said Chris Henkel, the Lee County zoning officer.
The Big Sky Wind development will be the third wind farm in Lee County, but it is the first to require installation of transmission lines.
Kreiser and several residents from Marion Township fought to send the transmission lines swinging around the sparsely populated area by publicly addressing the Lee County Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Planning Commission over the past two months.
By Sam Smith
5 December 2007
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