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County opens door to wind farm growth

Applications for the erection of 300 more wind turbines in La Salle County are possible within the next 90 days. That was the prediction of Mike Harsted, director of La Salle County’s Environmental Services and Land Use office, just prior to the County Board’s vote to lift restrictions on wind farm growth.

Instead of a limit on megawatt production, the restriction now is a limit of 100 new wind turbines per year per applicant.

Harsted said the 100-turbine limit will allow his office to process and track wind tower growth in the county.

“It’s tough to describe the magnitude of the paperwork that’s involved,” said Harsted. “You just can’t handle the requirements in a short period of time.”

He said the 100-turbine limit is acceptable to the three wind turbine companies with interests in La Salle County.

The wind turbine regulations were part of a package of changes to the county’s zoning ordinance.

The board members debated whether a provision for fences around swimming pools specified a strong enough fence, and whether the fences should be required for above-ground pools.

“The point of security fences is for little children or people that could trip or fall in the pool,” said Randy Freeman, R-Lostant. “I believe with above-ground pools, due to the height of them, the thing they have to have is a removable ladder. And if that ladder is not removed, that’s the problem of the owner of the property: it’s the same thing as if you leave the gate open on a fence.”

The fence issue is to receive more study by the County Board’s Development Committee.

Charles Stanley

The Times

mywebtimes.com

9 May 2008