WATSEKA – The Iroquois County Board is scheduled to take a final vote on regulations involving wind farms next week, after a committee approved recommending the rules in a meeting on Friday.
The bty Board’s planning and zoning committee on Friday voted 7-2 to recommend the full board on Tuesday approve a proposed 1,500-foot setback.
Voting against the proposal were Adam Zumwalt of rural Sheldon and Troy Krumwiede of rural Watseka.
The committee also voted unanimously in favor of other proposed changes to the wind farm ordinance.
Earlier, two members of the Iroquois County Zoning Board of Appeals said they voted against the proposal because it was not protective enough.
Zoning Board of Appeals members Huck Marshall and Harold Loy said they support increasing the minimum setbacks between a wind farm’s 400-foot-tall turbines and “non-participating primary structures” homes and other buildings on properties not leasing turbines for a wind farm. However, they said the county board’s proposal to raise setbacks from 1,000 feet to 1,500 feet between turbines and those structures is not adequate.
Both said this week that they favored a previously proposed 2,500-foot setback.
“The fellow who doesn’t want to be close to these (turbines) but is being forced to live within 1,500 feet of one of these, I was trying to protect him,” said Marshall, a resident of Watseka.
“But it didn’t work.”
To end a five-hour public hearing last week, the zoning board voted 5-2, with Marshall and Loy in dissent, to recommend the county board next Tuesday approve increasing the required setback, from 1,000 feet to 1,500 feet, between a turbine and non-participating primary structure. There were also several other changes to the wind farm zoning ordinance recommended unanimously for approval.
The planning and zoning committee previously voted 5-3 for the full board to adopt a 2,500-foot setback, but the measure was turned down by the full board, which sided 12-10 last month with a 1,500-foot setback, initiating the public hearing process. The county’s existing zoning ordinance requires a setback of 1,000 feet between a turbine and structure, regardless of whether the structure is part of a “participating” or “non-participating” property in a wind farm. The setback for participating structures would remain at 1,000 feet under the proposal.
The full board is scheduled to take a final vote at its meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
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