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Review nets no change in plan  

No major changes were made in 24 conditions for the Streator Cayuga Ridge South Wind Project when a Livingston County Board committee and some other board members reviewed them Wednesday.

The committee agreed to finish work on the conditions at a July 15 meeting.

At that next session, the Agriculture and Zoning Committee also will review two written items submitted last night: project developer Iberdrola Renewables’ response to the proposed conditions; and additional conditions suggested by the attorneys consulting with the county on the wind farm.

The July 15 meeting is two days before the County Board’s regular meeting at which, Ag & Zoning chairwoman Jeanne Rapp said in opening remarks Thursday, the board is expected to make a decision on whether to grant a special use permit that would allow Iberdrola to build the first wind farm in the county, as many as 155 turbines spread across 15,000 acres between Odell and Emington in Union, Odell and Saunemin townships.

The 24 conditions had been recommended by the county’s Zoning Board of Appeals Monday, when it concluded a 10-session public hearing that began April 28 on Iberdrola’s request for the special use permit.

Rapp told an audience of about 40 attending Wednesday’s committee meeting that the procedures that county has followed with the request were “no different” from any other special use permit, and she noted that a transcript of the zoning board’s hearing is now available on CD-ROM from the county zoning office.

The procedure on Wednesday was for the committee to go through each of the 24 points, and then they were gone through again for any comment by 12 other County Board members at the meeting but not members of Ag & Zoning. Then public comment was allowed, before the meeting was adjourned to the 15th, at 6 p.m. at the county’s Public Safety Complex.

The committee agreed to changes in some of the conditions where the company is required to provide notification to the county; instead of “county,” notice will be given to the county zoning office.

It was also agreed that it would be up to Iberdrola to notify residents of any work done outside permitted hours 7 a.m. to 4, 6 or 8 p.m., depending on day of week or time of year. No construction work is allowed on Sundays.

Livingston County Board candidate Judy Campbell has said a group called People Protecting Cayuga Ridge have petitioned ZBA and the County Board for a plan to guarantee property values.

The committee heard that work is “moving forward” on road agreements between Iberdrola, the county and township road districts. Rapp said county engineer David Winters or county attorney Tom Blakeman could be present at the next meeting to describe the status of those agreements.

The committee declined requests to add a property value guarantee plan to the list of conditions, and also agreed not to seek some changes in the “Good Neighbor” policy that landowners living near towers can choose to sign with Iberdrola and receive monetary compensation.

Public comment took about 45 minutes at the end of the committee’s meeting.

Cheryl Tate, of Blackstone, had several concerns, including how far in advance notice should be given about night work and about the “Good Neighbor” plan, calling it “an insult” and “inadequate for the circumstances” residents near towers will live with.

“Property values have declined 30 percent in other areas and it is going to happen here too,” she contended, and she asked board members to read the manuals for the towers and turbines about extreme wind conditions, to see if the ones Iberdrola will used are “warrranteed under tornadic activity.”

Judy Campbell, of Blackstone, listed among her concerns the “Good Neighbor” plan.

“I don’t see anything good about it,” she said, suggested it be listed in the conditions under its official title, Wind Program Neighbor Agreement.

“To me, noise is the largest issue here,” said Kim Schertz, of Hudson, whose husband does cropdusting in Livingston County. She said additional lighting on the towers is needed in areas where aerial spraying is done.

A supporter of the wind farm, Michael Gall, of Odell, said any construction work done at night, when wind speed can be lower than in daytime, would be no different from agricultural work done in darkness and said then “Good Neighbor” plan is similar to a “confidentiality agreement” in other situations and “is not a gag order,” as two people contended to the committee.

By John Faddoul, Staff Reporter

Pontiac Daily Leader

3 July 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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