Libertyville’s plan commission addressed height and sound restrictions and issues brought by residents as the village continues to revise its code allowing wind turbines within the village.
Village staff have been preparing a road map to better regulate future use of wind turbines in Libertyville. Senior Planner David Smith said the height of tower-mounted wind turbines would be reduced to not exceed 150 feet and the code would reduce maximum sound levels to 40 decibels.
Last March, Mayor Terry Weppler directed staff to adopt portions of Lake County’s ordinance regarding wind turbines into the village’s zoning code.
Despite the reduction residents say sound levels and other issues are still not addressed in the ordinance.
During the May 23 Plan Commission meeting, Libertyville resident Laurie Renz said 40 decibels would still be disruptive and urged the commission to lower sound limits further. In addition, she recommended that ordinance address the density of wind turbines.
“One is bad enough. The thought of three being behind my house is horrifying. The thought of 10 is unimaginable and inconceivable,” Renz said. “The proposed amendment says nothing that would prevent that. Libertyville is not a place for a wind farm.”
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.
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.
David Gates praised staff for work thus far, such as not allowing shadow flickering. But he added allowing wind turbines will affect property values and urges the code to protect residents.
“We are all worried. As difficult as the market is to have one of these in your backyard seems to affect property value,” he said. “If indeed people’s property values are legitimately affected, is there some way to compensate or protect them?” he asked.
Gary Newell also expressed concern the ordinance does not address how wind turbines would be monitored and enforced. He recommended the village hire an independent authority to do so.
“This is a highly technical field, sound readings, and there are experts who do it as a job. Putting it on someone internally in the village is not a task that I would not want to see done,” he said.
Commissioner William Cotey said the village is coming closer to developing regulations, but he still has concerns particularly regarding sound levels. He said the feedback regarding sound has only come from residents.
“I have little information as to the scientific side as to what impacts these will have on village residents,” he said. “I am struggling with what is the right level.”
The Planning Commission will address the topic again at its June 27 meeting.
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