Residents who live near a wind turbine on Aldridge Electric Inc., 844 East Rockland Road, have been fighting for more than a year to restore peace in their lives.
At Monday’s Plan Commission meetings, residents and members of the Citizens for the Protection of Libertyville (CFPL) offered input on a proposed zoning code change that would regulate future use of wind turbines in the village.
“The key phrase or whatever you guys have left out of what lake county looked at was no facility should generate, or shall operate with an ambient sound of more than five decibel of a non-operating ambient level that’s measured within 100 feet of any residential area,” said Gary Newell, of the 400 block of 7th Avenue. “For every 5 decibel it’s doubling in sound, so that should really be in there.”
Mayor Terry Weppler has directed village staff to adopt portions of Lake County’s ordinance regarding wind turbines into the village’s zoning code. During the meeting, village staff presented the difference between Lake County and the village’s ordinance. Some differences include maximum decibel levels in residential and commercial areas and where turbines could cast shadow flickers.
Libertyville’s current ordinance allows turbines to generate up to 60 decibels when located adjacent to residential areas whereas the county’s ordinance limits noise levels to a maximum of 45 decibels when adjacent to residential areas from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.; and 55 decibels of sound from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. As for shadow flickers, village ordinance states that shadow flicker from wind turbines shall not encroach on any adjacent property, whereas the county’s ordinance states turbines shall not cast shadow flicker on any residential dwelling.
“I was at the county planning commission meeting; the original taskforce recommended 40 and 50 [decibels maximum in residential areas]. I’m very sad to see that’s been weakened to 45 and 55 [decibels],” said David Gates, CFPL spokesman, who also lives near the turbine. “If you look at the wind industry PR, it says it’s a conversation of two people in the yards. It’s not true, absolutely not true. It’s the sound of cars going down your house all day long, or if you wish, just sitting outside 24/7 running. While that’s not horribly overwhelming, it’s not fun and you didn’t buy your house to have some engine sitting out front going 24/7.”
Gates says his family has to keep their windows closed when the turbine runs because they can’t tolerate the constant irritation.
“The low level noise is really part of the problem, you can’t really put your fingers on it. It’s just there,” Gates said. “The other problem, too that is rarely mentioned is certain pitches … it sounds like helicopter above your house.”
According to Gates, CFPL currently has a lawsuit against Aldridge Electric.
Laurie Renz of the 800 block of E. Rockland Road told commissioners that it’s been unbearable living near the turbine.
“The low frequency sound is astounding, you don’t perceive it as noise, but what it literally does is it makes my house hum,” Renz said. “It’s maddening to be in a place that is constantly humming.”
Renz says 55 decibels will not rupture eardrums but the issue is the noise is constant.
“The worst part of living next to that wind turbine is that the noise never ends. It is incessant, there’s nothing you can do to get away from it, except leave your house, which is what I’m going to be doing because I can’t live like this anymore.”
Residents are asking the village to consider an ordinance that is stricter than the county’s and some commissioners agreed that would be a good approach.
“We should take a look at what Lake county doing and take step further,” said Commissioner Kurt Schultz.
Chairman Mark Moore says it’s importanta to address consistant noise distractions.
“The fact that you cannot get away from the noise level is something that we just need to make sure that it’s taken out of the equation. The message should be that’s not something that we are going to compromise on,” Moore said.
As the village crafts an ordinance Commissioner Scott Adams says the village’s interest is to protect residents and the village.
“This is not Elk Grove Village where there’s an abundance of manufactures and not as many residents. This is a community that has neighborhoods and we can’t have these things anywhere near residents that could wreck the quality of life.”
Following the meeting, village staff will prepare a road map to address issues residents raised and will present it at the March 28 meeting.
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