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Public airs views on wind farm

HOOPESTON – As many as 20 people showed up to voice and hear opinions on the plan to construct a wind farm in northern Vermilion County.

The group filled the Grant Township Building meeting room Friday morning. A second meeting was scheduled for Friday afternoon in the Rossville Fire Department.

Chris Watson of Hoopeston was one of the residents at the meeting, posing questions in regard to both any changes the wind farm might make on the tax base and the potential for any health issues the wind turbines might pose.

Afterward, Watson said she planned to do a little research on her own.

“I’d like to reserve my opinion right now,” she said, adding she wanted to take into account what reasons both proponents and opponents have for taking a stance on the issue.

Friday’s meetings in Hoopeston and Rossville come in advance of a public hearing meeting by the Vermilion County Structural Committee, which is overseeing the permit process for the Hoopeston Wind Project. The committee meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday on the second floor of the Courthouse Annex, 6 N. Vermilion St.

In February, a permit application was filed with the county for the Hoopeston Wind Project. The project calls for the construction of 43 wind turbines in an area from around 3 miles east of Illinois Route 49 to the area near the Hubbard Trail Country Club north of Rossville.

Questions and comments collected at Friday’s meeting will be presented at Tuesday’s public hearing.

Several of the residents who spoke during the Hoopeston meeting said they were neither for nor against the wind farm, but rather had more questions than answers about the details.

Ed Layden of Hoopeston said wind farm representatives had visited his farm, but had only spoke in generalities.

“I want specifics,” he said, pointing to issues such as effects on field tiles. “These are the kind of things, as farmers, that are important.”

Phil Duncan of Hoopeston also said he had reached no specific opinion yet, but agreed about the vagueness so far.

“It’s been very disappointing,” he said.

Some information voiced at the meeting differed from resident to resident.

Darrell and Kim Cambryn, who live south of Rossville, were the only outspoken opponents to issuing a permit for the wind farm. Kim Cambryn alleged property values were diminished by up to 40 percent as a result of wind turbines and both husband and wife said there were health concerns – dubbed Wind Turbine Syndrome – from the low level noise and vibration.

However, John Lee of Hoopeston, cited an Illinois Farm Management and Rural Appraisers study he said indicated the land value went up. He pointed to Benton County, Ind., which has seen positive effects from the wind farm turbines erected there.