Experts testify on wind power effects; Wind farm won’t create noise pollution, lowered property values, they say
PEKIN – Experts testified Thursday on behalf of a proposed wind farm, but a decision on whether or not the project gets county approval won’t happen until the end of the month.
The Tazewell County Zoning Board of Appeals has been holding public hearings since April 1, getting public input on the proposed Rail Splitter Wind Farm by Houston-based Horizon Wind Energy LLC.
Horizon presented a real estate appraiser and an expert on noise pollution, both of whom told the board the 67-tower project would have no negative effect on property values or quality of life.
“They would not be injurious or have any negative impact on the area,” said Greg Zak, a noise pollution expert from Springfield.
Peter J. Poletti, a real estate appraiser from Collinsville, said the towers wouldn’t affect property values but said it wouldn’t be feasible for Horizon to provide a property value assurance plan for adjacent home owners.
“I don’t really see a need for them,” he said.
Residents opposed to the project, which would cover more than 11,000 acres of farmland straddling Tazewell and Logan counties just east of Interstate 155, got a chance to ask more questions Thursday night.
“Which would you rather live beside?” Delavan resident Rod Egli asked Poletti, and gave him the options of wind farm, landfill or an unobstructed country view.
“That’s kind of a hard call,” Poletti said. “I would probably prefer, obviously everybody wants a country view.”
Egli said he opposes the project because his house would be surrounded by the towers, which would be 389 feet tall. Tazewell County would host 38 of them.
Further testimony, cross examination and closing arguments are now scheduled for May 20, while the board is expected to begin deliberating on whether to grant or deny construction permits for the project on May 27.
Horizon has temporarily pulled its application for special use permits in Logan County after failing to properly notify residents of wind towers that would be near their property.
The company plans to refile the applications after sending out proper notices to residents.
The total cost of the wind farm is expected to be between $175 million and $200 million.
It would sell energy to AmerenCILCO and generate power for about 30,000 homes in Illinois.
The project would be the second central Illinois wind farm development for Horizon, which operates the Twin Groves wind farm just east of Bloomington.
By Kevin Sampier
16 May 2008
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