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Wind turbine discussion continues in Libertyville

Following the complaints of residents that a 150-feet-tall wind turbine in Libertyville is too noisy and too close to home, plan commissioners asked village staff members to revisit the maximum sound and height that the village would allow for wind turbines.

Dave Gates, a member of the group, Citizens for the Protection of Libertyville, has said the group wants to ban wind turbines from the village. Gates is also a plaintiff in a lawsuit against Aldridge Electric Company, 844 East Rockland Road. He is one of several residents who live between 200 and 700 feet from Aldridge’s 150-foot-tall wind turbine.

“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 at a March plan commission meeting. “It makes you mad – not angry, mad insane. It drives you insane.”

Plan commissioners at the Monday meeting asked staff to further lower the proposed maximum decibel level from 45 to 40 decibels, and lower the proposed 200-foot maximum height of tower mounted turbines, said John Spoden, director of community development. Discussion is scheduled to continue at a meeting May 23.

Residents and business owners would have to apply to the village for a special use permit to install a wind turbine, under the proposed change.

The plan commissioners’ request was a middle ground between the citizens group’s request and the planning division’s proposal.

But 45 decibels is not quiet enough, Gates said in a recent interview.

“We would like to see 35 (decibels) max, not 45. They should not be obtrusive, 45 is the sound of a quiet car running next to your house,” Gates said.

He said the Aldridge turbine sounds like a helicopter.

“You have this ‘whoop, whoop, whoop’ sound over your house,” he said. It’s so irritating that he doesn’t want to open the windows in his home.

Lake 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.

The proposal also regulates “shadow flicker” created by wind turbines.

“Basically, they would have to show that there wouldn’t be a shadow on a neighboring property unless you are able to come to an agreement with a property owner that would have to be filed with the Lake County Recorder’s office,” Spoden said.

The meeting marked plan commissioners’ third discussion of wind turbines since last month, when the village enacted a six-month moratorium on the machines.

The village delayed authorizing wind turbines in March while the Lake County Wind Energy Task Force and Lake County Regional Planning Commission work on a wind energy model ordinance. Libertyville used a draft of what the county is working on to come up with its wording, Spoden said. The proposal also covers small wind turbines.