After struggling with the controversial issue of wind energy regulations for the past two years, Lake County Board members may separate regulations for large wind farm proposals and smaller turbine requests from homeowners, schools and businesses.
Board member Bonnie Thomson Carter of Ingleside said she will make a motion at February’s County Board meeting to vote separately on the two aspects of the county’s proposed regulations for unincorporated areas.
With several board members leaning against approval of larger turbine farms in Lake County, that move could open the door for requests for smaller turbines that are not seen as the primary use of a property.
Carter made her remarks at the County Board’s monthly committee-of-the whole meeting Friday in Libertyville.
“If there is enough support for small (wind energy projects), we can get that up and done in February, and then keep working on the larger ones,” she said.
Carter said approval of regulations for smaller installations would allow schools and other unincorporated land owners who may be interested in using wind turbines of less than 175 or 200 feet the opportunity to move forward with requests.
Concerns over the proposed commercial Sexton wind farm project, which could involve the location of 10 large turbines on a 388-acre site on Russell Road, just west of the Tri-State Tollway, has drawn residents of Old Mill Creek and other neighbors of the property to board committee meetings in large numbers.
Proposed regulations would cap such commercial turbines at 400 feet and include protections against light and noise, and setbacks of 250 percent of the height of a tower to the nearest residence. But after a tour of such facilities, several board members have said the county is no longer rural and not an appropriate setting for such projects.
“These turbines are awesome, they are majestic and they are gigantic. And they don’t belong in Lake County,” said board member Steve Carson of Grandwood Park.
Other board members have said the county should not shut the door against larger projects that could represent an environmentally friendly method of energy production.
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