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Libertyville wind turbine moratorium gets fourth extension

Village trustees, at the recommendation of their planning staff, have extended the moratorium on the construction, installation and operation of wind turbines for a fourth six-month extension.

The original moratorium was initiated in August 2009. Six-month extensions were made by the board in February and August 2010, and February 2011. The new postponement expires in August 2011, or sooner if the board adopts a new ordinance.

On Tuesday night, trustees said the latest extension was necessary because the Plan Commission is currently holding public hearings to gather supplementary testimony on the subject.

Additionally, the Wind Energy Task Force of Lake County, in conjunction with county’s Regional Planning Commission, is still in process of completing a model ordinance for communities to draw upon in drafting their own uniform ordinances.

John Spoden, director of community development, pointed out applications can still be filed with his department for potential future construction and operation of wind turbines of all types while zoning amendments are being formed by the Plan Commission.

Spoden also pointed out that the proposed ordinance would not restrict the use of wind turbines that were lawfully installed prior to the effective date of the new ordinance.

Libertyville officials have been proceeding cautiously in developing zoning criteria for wind turbines and wind farms – particularly industrial wind turbines designed to generate commercial electricity.

Aldridge Electric installed a 140-foot 50-kilowatt wind turbine in 2009 as a demonstration project, but quickly encountered criticism from its Rockland Road neighbors who filed a lawsuit in Lake County Circuit Court calling the project a public nuisance to nearby homeowners.

Both Grayslake and Gurnee have adopted wind turbine ordinances for small installations, but have banned industrial applications.