BLOOMINGTON – A judge ruled Monday that a trial date should be set sooner rather than later in the civil lawsuit involving a proposed wind farm along the border of McLean and Woodford counties.
Judge Scott Drazewski set Oct. 27 for a bench trial for a lawsuit filed by Information is Power, a citizens group that opposes construction of the 100-turbine White Oak Energy Center wind farm by Chicago-based Invenergy Wind.
The lawsuit contends the McLean County Zoning Board of Appeals denied property owners their rights by limiting testimony during hearings on a special use permit for the project. The group also has raised health and safety issues concerning the wind farm.
The wind farm company and the McLean County Board also are named in the lawsuit.
Drazewski told attorneys Monday the trial will be conducted in several installments over two to three months as time is available on the court calendar. Attorneys estimated the trial could last three weeks.
White Oak’s attorney, William Wetzel asked for a fall trial to minimize delays to the wind farm firm project.
“The consequence is the project is not able to move forward. We feel it’s unfair to our client,” Wetzel said of delays in the trial schedule.
The decision to start or hold off on construction while legal action is pending lies with the company, said Drazewski.
Information is Power attorney Melissa McGrath asked for a trial date early next year, arguing that extensive discovery – the collection and sharing of evidence and testimony – remains to be done in the case. For example, landowners have not received a list of experts that attorneys for the county and Invenergy intend to call as witnesses, said McGrath.
The next hearing in the case is set for Aug. 5.
By Edith Brady-Lunny
Monday, June 30, 2008
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