The villages of Ashton and Franklin Grove are in the process of determining whether they will revise their existing ordinances to prohibit commercial wind turbines within the 1.5-mile radius surrounding their zoning jurisdictions. Current county guidelines allow wind turbines as close as 1,500 feet from the village limits and 1,400 feet from a residential building.
These decisions could affect the future of Ashton and Franklin Grove for decades, so it is imperative that residents let your village trustees know how you feel about this issue.
Here are some points to consider:
Wind developers continually talk about the additional tax revenue that will benefit our schools. It’s true, commercial wind farms will bring in some additional tax revenue, and a good portion of this revenue goes to the local school districts. However, please understand that we will not see any more tax revenue if the turbines are located inside the 1.5-mile radius surrounding the village than if they are located outside this 1.5-mile radius.
Please consider the larger picture and look beyond any initial conclusion that wind turbines must be good for the community because they will bring revenue to the schools. Also, consider how much of the additional tax revenue may be offset by corresponding revenue losses, such as decreased tax revenue from reduction in residential property values.
Wind developers say that wind farms don’t adversely impact values of nearby properties. But what does common sense tell you? Ask any licensed real estate appraiser, and I think they will tell you otherwise. Some have estimated property value reductions of as much as 25 percent.
How much of the increased tax revenue from wind turbines will be offset by lost development potential from those who decide they do not want to live or work among wind turbines? What about lost tourism dollars from people who no longer come to enjoy our natural, historic and cultural resources, because they have been spoiled by industrial turbines?
This is not about being “pro” wind energy or “anti” wind energy. It’s about responsible development and protecting our community’s ability to grow and prosper. It’s about recognizing that maybe there are good places and bad places to locate wind turbines.
Our communities need long-term, balanced growth that wind turbines cannot provide. Even if you like things the way they are and want them to stay this way, realize that some growth is necessary to sustain the economic viability of our communities.
So, what type of growth would you like to see? How about balanced residential, commercial and light industrial growth, according to a well-thought-out comprehensive plan? You know, the kind of development that makes people want to live and work here.
Or would you rather have wind turbines? The choice is yours, but recognize that you can’t have it both ways.
Please let your village trustees know how you feel about this important issue.
Note to readers – Steve Robery is a licensed professional engineer with 24 years’ experience. He has been employed for the past 9 years by the Illinois Department of Transportation in Dixon. He lives with his wife of 19 years, Kelly, in rural Franklin Grove.
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