- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Wind on trial: Can energy company, residents reach middle ground?

Judy Campbell believes property values should be guaranteed.

That is why the Manville resident testified with a group of Livingston County residents against the proposed Streator Deer Run Wind Farm.

Last week the debate continued.

The wind farm, including approximately 165 wind turbines on 23,000 acres, is proposed for Esmen, Newtown and Sunbury townships with general boundaries between 3300 North Road, 900 East Road, 2300 North Road and 1800 East Road. This is approximately 10 miles southeast of Streator.

A fourth round of experts testified last Wednesday concerning property values in the seventh public hearing of the Livingston County Zoning Board. The hearing will determine whether the zoning board will recommend to the Livingston County Board a special use permit for the construction of wind farms.

“I don’t know if people understand the process,” Campbell said. “This process protects residents of the county from something like a decrease in property value.”

Whether property values are truly affected within a certain radius of wind farms is debatable. As demonstrated in the public hearing, both sides have testified giving their argument.

Previously, the zoning board recommended property value guarantees for those within a 1.5-mile radius of the landfill just outside Pontiac. For a proposed wind farm near Minonk, 34 conditions for special use were outlined.

Campbell is hoping for the same with the Streator Deer Run project.

Arguments for decreasing land value range from the windmill shadows, their blinking lights, buzzing noises, the potential of one dangerously malfunctioning, damage to crops to inconveniences in air traffic within the construction’s proximity.

The County Board will make its recommendation based on evidence given during the hearing. Attorneys were present representing residents, Iberdrola Renewable Energy and Livingston County.

“I think this time around there is a good chance for land value guarantees,” Campbell said. “Previous hearings haven’t been as extensive as this one. I feel they might reach a middle ground.”

Iberdrola representative Jeff Reinkenmeyer said “good neighbor” agreements will be made to certain property owners. The Livingston County Regional Planning Commission recommended these be put in place.

“This provides a financial package for those not participating that will be affected,” he said. “This is compensation to offset perceived deterrents.”

The public hearing is scheduled to continue at 7 p.m. Tuesday Aug. 24, and Wednesday Aug. 25, at the Country Mansion in Dwight.