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Discussion continues on wind turbine regulations

Libertyville announces further height and sound restrictions as the Plan Commission continues to discuss amending the village’s wind turbine ordinance.

Libertyville officials continue to discuss amending the village’s policy to allow wind turbines as residents offer further suggestions to ensure the policy is fair to homeowners.

During the June 27 meeting, Senior Planner David Smith told the Planning Commission that further changes have been made, including modifying the maximum permitted height for tower-mounted wind turbines to not exceed 125 feet.

Also, the maximum permitted decibel levels have been modified to include reduced sound levels during day and evening hours. The maximum sound levels on receiving residential properties would be restricted to 35 decibels between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. The maximum level between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. would be 40 decibels. The maximum level for nonresidential properties would be 50 decibels.

Among other points Smith noted, no parcel should be subject to shadow flicker from a building mounted wind turbine unless the turbine owner and owner of the affected property enter into an agreement. The ordinance also addresses the equipment’s impact on wildlife, stating wind turbines must comply with regulations by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Smith praised the residents for offering their continued input.

“We’re almost working in partnership. They are very patient with the staff, and I appreciate their courtesy,” Smith said.

Ordinance Should Address Real-Life Scenarios

Residents continued to voice continued concerns about issues pertaining to density, sound and enforcement, many of which Smith said he would review.

John Christianson questioned how sound regulations would apply if two different operators would run wind turbines simultaneously within close proximity of each other.

“Does this apply to the real-life situation of ours, where I can hear the subtotal of both operating where I stand?” Christianson asked.

Laurie Renz said that after a wind turbine was installed at the Aldridge Electric Inc. property, residents learned they could see and hear it when they had been told they would not. Renz recommends crafting the ordinance so it protects homeowners but not punish innocent turbine operators.

“Experience says we don’t want to craft an ordinance that is so tight that we can’t breathe, but we don’t want them to be so loose that the residents, the applicant and the village are not clear as to what the requirements of that ordinance are,” Renz said.

Is There A Need For Wind Turbines?

Tim Anderson wondered why Libertyville needs wind turbines if they are only a nuisance.

“You are spending all this time working on how to allow a nuisance, and just approach that it’s a nuisance. We don’t allow nuisances in this village,” Anderson said.

Commissioner Kurt Schultz said that while amending this ordinance has taken time, the village must look where technology may advance in five to 10 years.

“I would hate to limit those just because we don’t want another turbine like Aldridge’s,” he said.

Smith pointed out that a moratorium on construction, installation and operation of wind turbines will expire in September. So he hopes the commission will approve a text amendment to the ordinance within the next couple of months, so it can be brought before the board before the moratorium expires.

The commission will continue the wind turbine discussion at its July 25 meeting.