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Wind farm plan clears zoning hurdle  

Bureau County rejects amendment requiring buried power lines

The Bureau County Board on Tuesday rejected a zoning change that jeopardized the proposed Walnut Ridge Wind Farm.

“It’s another hurdle crossed,” said Bureau Valley School Superintendent Terry Gutshall. Last month he asked the zoning board not to recommend a change in its zoning ordinance.

“If the text amendment was approved, it could add another $18 million in costs to the project because transmission lines would have to be buried.”

At the board’s meeting Tuesday night, planning committee member Bill Bennett made the motion to change the ordinance to require wind farms to bury transmission lines entirely underground. He cited aesthetic purposes, but no one seconded his motion.

“I understand wanting the county to reflect country living and not having power lines everywhere,” said Gutshall. “But we can’t afford the huge financial loss that would result from that.”

If the project goes through, 131 turbines will be built in the Bureau Valley School District and another 19 turbines would be constructed in the Ohio School District. It’s estimated $1.8 million dollars in tax revenue could be generated for the school, and an additional $330,000 in tax revenues could be generated for Bureau County.

The Walnut Ridge Farm developers have until May to file conditional-use permits.

Walnut Ridge Wind LLC is a subsidiary of Chicago-based Midwest Wind Energy.

By Catherine Hopkins

Peoria Journal Star

17 April 2008

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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