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Committee sends wind farm project to County Board

EUREKA – For the second time in less than one week, a Woodford County committee has voted to send a controversial wind farm development before the full County Board after the project has sat in limbo for nearly one year.

The county’s Conservation, Planning and Zoning Committee today recommended by a vote of 3-2 that the proposed El Paso wind farm be placed on the agenda for consideration at its May 20 meeting. The motion was put forth by board member Larry Whitaker who, along with Gary Jones and Committee Chairman James Finke, voted in favor of it. Opposed were board members Thomas Evans and Thomas Karr.

At the zoning meeting, typically sparsely attended, about two dozen members of the public sat waiting to hear the vote, which has reignited the debate in the county surrounding wind farms.

Whitaker stressed during this evening’s meeting that his aim was to give the full board the chance to discuss the 40-turbine project, which he said the board has been unable to do since the project gained the recommendation from the Zoning Board of Appeals last year. The move would also keep the public aware of the project’s status and return it to the county’s forefront, Whitaker added.

“The intent here is to try to make sure the public business is done in front of the public,” he said. “What the board decides to do next Tuesday is the board’s business.”

The move comes on the heels of another 3-2 vote also introduced by Whitaker at the county’s Road and Bridge Committee that made a similar recommendation.

By Frank Radosevich II

Peoria Journal Star

13 May 2008