Apparently trying to avoid a legal battle down the road, the developer of a proposed wind farm has temporarily pulled its application for a special use permit in northern Logan County after failing to properly notify residents of wind towers that would be near their property.
“In order to err on the side of caution, we’re going to pull the application and refile it shortly,” said Bill Whitlock, project development manager for the proposed Rail Splitter Wind Farm that would straddle Tazewell and Logan counties.
Rockford attorney Rick Porter, representing a group of residents who oppose the wind farm, last week filed a motion against Houston-based Horizon Wind Energy LLC, saying the company did not properly notify all residents it was supposed to as required by state statute.
“Notice was only sent to people within a quarter-mile” of proposed towers, Porter said.
Notice is required for any residents adjacent to a property where a tower would be located, he said.
In requesting that the Logan County Zoning Board of Appeals cancel a public hearing last week on the special use permit, Porter said he would appeal the legality of the meeting, and he vowed that he would win.
“I am not going to go away,” he told the zoning board.
Meanwhile, Whitlock said Wednesday the project will still move forward, but two meetings with the Logan County Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals will have to be redone.
“We didn’t want any challenge to the permit based on some minor, procedural dispute,” Whitlock said of the decision to start fresh in the county and reissue notices “above and beyond” what is required.
The Tazewell County portion of the hearing process will enter its last stages tonight when the Tazewell County Zoning Board of Appeals hears expert testimony from Horizon and begins deliberating if the company with be issued permits.
The project would cover more than 11,000 acres of farmland just east of Interstate 155 and would build 67 towers.
Whitlock said the construction time frame shouldn’t be affected by the setback and said work could begin by this summer if the project gets the necessary approvals.
By By Kevin Sampier
GateHouse News Service
15 May 2008
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