Village, high school must get approval from county for construction
The construction of a single wind tower for Metamora Township High School has been delayed after school officials discovered they must seek the approval of the Woodford County Board before continuing with the project.
Superintendent Ken Maurer said Monday both the school and village had agreed earlier to put a meteorological tower in a field surrounding a sewage treatment plant about two miles southeast of the village. The 50-meter-tall steel tower would measure wind speed and direction during a year-long period to assess the feasibility of building a wind turbine.
Although Metamora – which has no ordinance governing the construction of wind turbines – owns the property at the water plant, the land does not directly boarder the village, placing it under the auspices of the county.
That means the school must now go before the county’s Zoning Board of Appeals, who will then pass along its recommendation on the project for a vote by the County Board.
“It’s a set back but not a deal killer,” said Village Trustee Doug Hawk, who chairs the village’s special projects committee.
Maurer said he sought to relocate the tower closer to the school, hoping to avoid any wait while working with the county, but the idea was declined by the village. According to Maurer, grant money for the project can not be secured until after the data is collected from the tower.
Hawk said the village board wants the test tower to sit on the same location where any wind turbine would be built, ensuring the data would accurately reflect the winds at the water plant. Hawk added the village was in the process of drawing up an ordinance for wind turbines.
Maurer said the school was caught off guard by the delay but believes the turbine – designed to cut costs and teach students – will still become a reality.
“We’re trying to go green as much as possible,” Maurer said. “We’re looking at ways to keep those property taxes down.”
John Hamann, the zoning administrator in Woodford County, said the high school filed an application Friday, and a hearing before the Zoning Board of Appeals has been scheduled for May 13.
The tower was scheduled to arrive and be erected before the end of the month. Now, Maurer predicts the test tower may not be ready until the end of May or later.
The school has asked the company, Michigan-based Alternate Energy Solutions Inc., for a 60- to 90-day delay on delivering the equipment.
By Frank Radosevich II
22 April 2008
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding