UNION TWP. – Comments of support and opposition were voiced Monday night about two proposed wind turbine zoning amendments – one of which was recommended for acceptance and the other for rejection.
The Union Township Zoning Commission recommended that township trustees accept a proposal it drafted and reject a proposal submitted by Union Neighbors United, a group of residents concerned about wind energy development zoning issues.
“If we put something on the books today it’s not an end, it’s a start,” commission member Steve Bricher said. “Sitting here today, we have no guidelines for (wind turbine) placement.”
Twelve of the more than 40 attendees at the hearing spoke, for about five minutes each, before the votes.
Chris Walker, a Dayton-based attorney representing Union Neighbors United, and other speakers urged the commission not to be hasty in its decision and to wait for more information on recommended policies to come from local and state wind development study groups.
“It’s our position … that both of these amendments are premature …” Walker said.
Other speakers, such as township resident Linda Gordon, questioned the research behind the regulations proposed in the commission’s amendment – which fixes the minimum setback of a turbine from a home at 1,000 feet.
“Just because we may differ with your opinion doesn’t mean we haven’t done our homework,” Bricher said.
Other residents voiced support of the accepted proposal.
“You can build a house anywhere, but you can only build wind turbines where the wind has speed,” township resident Ted Black said.
Robin Berry, another township resident, called the Union Neighbors United proposal – which would fix a setback from a home at 2,600 feet – too restrictive because it would limit the number of turbines that feasibly could be built in Champaign County.
The recommendations now will go to the Union Township Trustees, who will have another hearing on both amendments before voting on them.
By Natalie Morales
17 December 2007
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