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Woodford wind farm’s future unclear; Board members uncertain if they will consider resolution  

As of 4:30 p.m. Friday, it was on the agenda.

Then, hours later, it was off, only to be reinstated the next day on the list of petitions, resolutions and motions. Eventually, on Sunday evening, it was pulled once again.

And what will happen next is anyone’s guess.

Resolution 67 – asking the Woodford County Board to grant a special use permit for a 40-turbine wind farm development near El Paso – has prompted a board tug-of-war, as some members clamor to keep the controversial project on the agenda and others want it taken off. The back-and-forth has led to four separate agendas for tonight’s meeting being sent out to board members or posted for public viewing.

More than a few people are now confused as to the future of the resolution and of the proposed wind project, which would sit on nearly 3,000 acres between El Paso and Secor and straddle U.S. Route 24.

“I don’t know what the situation is,” said board member Larry Whitaker, who has led the charge to put the project on the agenda. “We’ll just have to see how this thing plays out.”

It all began after board Chairman John Krug told County Administrator Greg Jackson on Friday to remove the item, saying the chairman sets the agenda. According to the County Board’s rules, the chairman may alter the final agenda “with the agreement of the majority of the County Board members.”

Krug said Monday he made the decision because the resolution listed on the agenda differed from what was put forth by the Conservation, Planning and Zoning Committee. The committee recommended the full board consider the project, while the agenda item specifically asked the board to grant a special use permit.

“There’s no mention of considering something. That is a motion to grant,” Krug said.

The removal led Gary Jones, chairman of the board’s Central Services Committee, to ask to have the item reinstated Saturday. Jones said that the zoning committee’s motion was valid and that he felt Krug was overstepping his bounds as chairman.

“No one individual can come along and say ‘No, we aren’t going to consider that,'” Jones said, though his move was negated on Sunday after Krug again amended the agenda. “He obviously doesn’t want this wind farm question on the agenda.”

Other board members said the county should hold off until an agreement between the developer, Minneapolis-based Navitas Energy, and road commissioners from El Paso, Palestine and Greene townships is reached. The county’s Zoning Board of Appeals’ recommendation called for an agreement to be in place as a condition for approval.

“Up until that point we shouldn’t be fooling with it,” board member Thomas Evans said. A separate resolution asking the board to serve as a facilitator to help broker an agreement between Navitas and the road commissioners remains on the agenda.

Paul Lewis, the local attorney for Navitas, said whether rejection or approval, the company is still waiting for the county’s response.

“When you file an application and go through the process, there is never a guarantee (of approval) . . . but you do expect to get an answer.”

By Frank Radosevich II
Of The Journal Star

Peoria Journal Star

20 May 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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