Recent letters to the editor have questioned the timing and the jurisdiction of the City of Urbana’s concerns about the University’s proposed placement of wind turbines directly south of the city limits. With respect to timing, after many months of repeated requests, the University declined to share its proposal until after it was released for construction bid on Oct. 28, 2010.
The wind turbine project was originally conceived by the University in 2005. Since that time wind turbine design and regulation have changed greatly. Specifically, Illinois law was amended in 2007 to grant municipalities jurisdiction over wind farms and wind turbines within one-and-one-half miles beyond city boundaries. As a result of this new law, the City of Urbana recently adopted a state-of-the-art ordinance which provides a community standard for wind turbines both within the city and its larger planning area. Our ordinance is based upon model regulations prepared by the state.
The City is fully supportive of the concept of wind energy systems and seeks to have them placed appropriately and with proper public hearing and review procedures.
The University of Illinois is not exempt from the State legislation or from other protections that have been put in place to protect the public from impacts that can result from wind turbines, such as falling hazards, excessive noise, shadow flicker, wildlife disruption and road failures. By adopting our wind regulations, the City sought to provide a lawful means for the University to proceed with the wind turbine project, while still protecting the public health, safety and due process rights of the public.
We encourage the University to work cooperatively and openly with neighboring property owners and with the host community on this and other projects. Following state law will make the project better.
community development services director for the City of Urbana
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