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Wind farm hearings may wind down tonight  

Hartsburg, Ill. – Tonight’s zoning board of appeals hearing may be the last before a decision is made on whether to issue a conditional-use permit to Houston-based Horizon Wind Energy.

The permit would be a green light in constructing 29 wind turbines in the northern section of the county, mainly in the Hartsburg-Emden area.

County zoning officer Will D’Andrea told The Courier Wednesday that lawyers for both sides have been asked to wrap up arguments at today’s 7:30 p.m. hearing at Hartsburg-Emden High School in Hartsburg.

“(Union Ridge Wind defense attorney Rick Porter) will be given one hour to cross-examine (Horizon’s project manager) Bill Whitlock,” said D’Andrea. “After that, both sides will give closing arguments.”

The arguments will be followed by more public comment.

D’Andrea said discussion is likely to wrap up at tonight’s hearing although, more public comments could be accepted at yet another meeting.

“At least, the testimony will be wrapped up,” said D’Andrea.

Last week, members of the zoning board of appeals heard testimony mainly concerning property values. Appraiser and Horizon witness Peter Poletti testified that property values near the proposed wind turbine construction will not be adversely affected.

Michael S. McCann, appraiser and witness for Porter, testified the exact opposite. McCann also said it would behoove Horizon to sign a property value guarantee to ensure area residents wouldn’t take a loss.

In April, after voting to allow Horizon to make use of the county’s enterprise zone, the county board was told to halt discussion, because not every landowner was properly notified. The same argument was used by Porter to persuade Horizon to pull its special use permit applications and start the process all over again earlier this month.

Horizon, fearing future litigation, withdrew its original application and resent notifications to more residents in the area of proposed construction.

If the zoning board of appeals gives its recommendation, Logan County Board chairman Dick Logan said he will likely call a special session, so the board can end the discussion once and for all.

“Once the ZBA’s done, I’ll be ready to move on it,” said Logan in a previous interview. “This is getting ridiculous.”

By Joshua Niziolkiewicz
The Courier

lincolncourier.com

26 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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