What goes thump, buzz and whoosh in the night?
A 150-foot tall wind turbine, according to several Libertyville residents.
“It hums and buzzes. It thumps and screeches when they put the brakes on it. You can’t stop it,” said Laurie Renz of the 800 block of East Rockland Road. “It makes you mad – not angry, mad insane. It drives you insane.”
Renz and several other residents attended Monday’s Village of Libertyville plan commission meeting to complain about the constant sounds coming from a 150-foot tall wind turbine installed near their homes, and to offer input on a proposed change in zoning that would regulate the future use of wind turbines in the village.
It’s been more than a yearlong fight for Reinz and members of the Citizens for the Protection of Libertyville since Aldridge Electric Company installed a wind turbine on Rockland Road. In addition to Renz, several residents who live within a couple hundred yards of the wind turbine have said their nerves are being tested.
Lisa Newell, of the 400 block of 7th Avenue, said she never knows what sound to expect, and has become so obsessed with the noises that at times she finds herself constantly checking the weather report for fear of a windy day, knowing the turbine could get louder.
“It makes a whooshing sound. It sounds like my washing machine is always running and sometimes it sounds like a helicopter is waiting to take off. You can’t ignore it,” Newell said. “We used to like to sleep with the windows open, but because of the turbine, we keep them closed. You still hear it. You can’t escape it.”
Another resident, John Foley of the 500 block of Kenwood Avenue, said his concerns are two-fold.
“This thing is noisy. It’s bad for people and it’s bad for nearby wildlife. I hate to think of what it would do to birds,” Foley said.
After hearing similar comments from several residents at the meeting, commissioners agreed to continue the discussion of wind turbines at the March 28 meeting.
“I just thought that they were going to pass it. I guess the fact that they didn’t is encouraging,” said Lisa Newell of the 400 block of 7th Avenue. “This is what they should’ve done in the first place.”
Commissioner Walt Oakley said he has been on the commission since Aldridge Electric first asked to build a wind turbine in the village.
“I was here on the first round and I got sold a bill of goods,” Oakley said. “Commercial wind turbines shouldn’t be in the ordinance and not in our town. It’s a sign of show and tell for Aldridge Corporation.”
Aldridge Electric Co. has built wind farms in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas and West Virginia.
Following complaints from nearby residents, Aldridge was restricted to operating the lone wind turbine in Libertyville to weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. while Citizens for the Protection of Libertyville, is waging a lawsuit against Aldridge.
According to Ken Aldridge, CEO of Aldridge Electric Co., the original permit approved by the village allowed his company to build two more wind turbines in Libertyville.
After the protest and lawsuit, the other two are on hold, Aldridge said.
The lawsuit is moving forward, according to Dave Gates, a spokesman for the Citizens for the Protection of Libertyville,
The village board in September agreed to place a six-month moratorium on wind turbine construction while the Wind Energy Task Force of Lake County and the Lake County Regional Plan Commission worked on writing a wind energy code.
That moratorium is set to expire March 14, but Director of Development John Spoden has said the moratorium would likely be extended if village officials do not take any action on the proposed changes.
The village’s code and the county’s, which is still in the process of deliberation, differ on a couple of levels.
According to a packet on wind energy compiled by the planning department, Libertyville restricts wind turbines to reach 150 feet high. Lake County’s code is proposed to restrict large wind energy facilities to have turbines up to 175 feet or higher on a parcel of land that is 200,000-square-feet. Wind turbines in a residential area, under the county’s code, can be 45-fee-tall in 40,000 square feet of land, and 75-feet high on 200,000-square feet.
The county and the village currently have the same noise limitations, allowing wind turbines to emit 60 decibels, if next to a residential area and 70 if adjacent to commercial land. They also both have the some time restrictions, meaning the sound should be 15 decibels softer between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
According to village code, shadow flicker from the turbines cannot encroach upon and adjacent property. The county restricts shadow flicker on any residential dwelling, but can be cast on a non-participating residential buildable area, but not for more than 50 hours per year.
Other things the commissioners considered were specifics on vibration, hours of the day and adjacent land use, aesthetics, connecting to the utility grid, property values of surrounding neighbors and the possible danger to birds and bats.
“We feel for the residents who have had to live through this experiment. I think we should see what the county ends up with,” said Commissioner Scott Adams.
Chairman Mark Moore said he would be interested in observing the turbines near residents’ homes for himself.
“We want to craft an amendment that protects these citizens here,” Moore said to his fellow commissioners.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding