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Ford County taking second look at wind-farm ordinances  

PAXTON – With two firms expressing interest in establishing wind farms east of Paxton, the county board announced it will hold a public meeting to review wind farm ordinances.

The Environmental Committee meeting, scheduled for June 19, will review existing ordinances “to see if changes or updates need to be made,” committee Chairman Gene May said at Monday night’s meeting of the Ford County Board.

Supervisor of Assessments Candice Short said current ordinances were adopted by the board in March 2006. At that time, a firm had expressed interest in a wind farm south of Sibley. That start has been delayed by the sale of the development company, and no permits have ever been granted under existing ordinances.

The Paxton site is causing concern because it would be located just east of Stockholm Road, a significant Paxton residential development.

After the meeting, rural Paxton resident Tom McQuinn voiced his concerns to Andy Melka, assistant development manager for E.ON Climate & Renewables of Chicago, one of two Paxton area wind-farm developers. McQuinn won the primary election for one of two District 1 seats on the county board and currently is running unopposed in November.

“I’m very prejudiced against windmills in the area near Stockholm Road,” McQuinn said. “It’s too close to a residential area.” The former longtime alderman for the Paxton City Council said he worries a nearby wind farm would deter future home sales.

McQuinn also said he is in the process of certifying a restricted landing area near his own home in that area and has concerns about setback restrictions for windmill placement near neighboring properties.

Melka said because of the adjacent housing development, his firm would likely avoid placing windmills on the south side of Illinois 9.

During earlier remarks before the board, Melka said his firm has been in talks with landowners for over a year and expects to begin the permitting process with the county by fall.

Short said each firm must submit its entire plan to receive a special use permit, but each windmill can be accepted or rejected individually without jeopardizing the entire project.

In other business, board members approved the low bids by Tobey Construction of Herscher for replacing a bridge near Guthrie in Dix Township at $166,655 and by Iroquois Paving of Gilman for resurfacing a stretch of County Road 500 North from 1 mile east of Illinois 115 to the Interstate 57 overpass for the bid price of $174,668.

By Jean Noellsch

The News-Gazette

10 June 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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