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Wind debate returning  

Credit:  BY DAVID GIULIANI, www.saukvalley.com 23 June 2011 ~~

DIXON – For the past few months, Lee County’s debate over wind energy has simmered down.

That quiet is likely to end.

Starting today, the county Zoning Board of Appeals will consider changes to the county’s wind energy ordinance. The panel will sift through recommendations from members of the county’s ad hoc committee on wind energy, which met during the winter to review the ordinance.

When it gets done with its work, the zoning board will refer any proposed changes to the 28-member County Board.

The wind committee disbanded with its last meeting in March. It included the five zoning board members, plus three others.

For many, the big issue for wind farms is the required distance between homes and turbines, which is now 1,400 feet in Lee County.

Some have pushed for a longer distance, saying that turbines are a noisy, scenery-destroying nuisance.

Others are concerned with the effects on county roads and the policies for abandonment of turbines years down the road.

Chris Henkel, the county’s zoning administrator, said the zoning board should avoid “overkill” as it proposes changes. Otherwise, the County Board may well reject such revisions, he said.

He said he’s seen some proposals for setbacks between houses and turbines that are so large that they would effectively ban wind energy development in Lee County.

“You have to come up with something workable,” he said. “Balancing is what we’re trying to do. Compromise is difficult. I’m hopeful.”

Public input was banned during the ad hoc committee meetings, which the state’s attorney general’s office this month found violated the state Open Meetings Act.

Ron Conderman, the zoning board’s chairman, said the board would allow input.

Henkel said the panel’s work would last a few months.

The Zoning Board of Appeals meets at 7 p.m. today in the County Board meeting room on the third floor of the Old County Courthouse, 112 E. Second St.

To attend

The Zoning Board of Appeals meets at 7 p.m. today in the County Board meeting room on the third floor of the Old County Courthouse, 112 E. Second St.

The board will consider changes to the county’s wind energy ordinance.

For more information, visit the county’s website at www.countyoflee.org or call the zoning office at 815-288-3643.

Source:  BY DAVID GIULIANI, www.saukvalley.com 23 June 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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