DANVILLE – Two Rankin-area residents raised concerns to the Vermilion County Board on Tuesday night about whether the county’s wind ordinance adequately protects the public’s interests in regard to the wind farm that’s planned for northwestern Vermilion County.
Kim and Darrell Cambron asked the board to revisit its wind ordinance that was written about two years ago to regulate the construction of wind turbines. Vermilion County has no zoning.
Darrell Cambron said the ordinance was probably adequate at the time it was written, but new information and research about wind turbines is now available. He encouraged the county board to consider revisiting and tweaking its ordinance before any turbines are approved.
International Power America Inc. is planning to build a 43-turbine wind farm west of Rossville and southeast of Rankin.
Cambron said he would like the ordinance to address possible noise generated by the turbines; shadow flicker – shadows created by the rotating blades – and the potential effect of that flicker on people and wildlife; potential threats to bats and birds; and setback limits. The county’s ordinance requires the turbines to be at least 1,000 feet from any structures, but Cambron said he questions whether that’s adequate. He said officials in areas with turbines are revisiting their setback distances.
The Cambrons asked the county board to consider a moratorium on the approval of any wind turbine development until the county’s ordinance can be revisited with public input.
Darrell Cambron said he doesn’t see what the big rush is to get wind turbines in the ground.
“I feel it’s more important to get it right,” he said.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the county board voted 25-0 to approve agreements with Grant Township and Ross Township, where the proposed wind turbine farm would be located. The agreements waive the township zoning processes, so the wind turbine company would seek approval for its project from one government entity, the county, rather than from three, and the county’s ordinance would be the regulating document for that approval process.
County board member Rick Knight asked if the county could tweak its wind ordinance at this point.
Bill Donahue, the county’s attorney, said the ordinance could always be changed, but it would be difficult to do that once a company has submitted its application for a project. International Power America Inc. has already submitted its application to the county.
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