MORRISON – A Whiteside County committee is planning a meeting to consider possible changes to the county’s ordinance for wind farms.
In March, a county official revealed that a wind energy company was planning to extend a proposed wind farm for Bureau and Lee counties into Whiteside County.
Two months later, the county Executive Committee voted to have the Public Works Committee closely review the ordinance.
Last month, the public works panel organized a wind farm tour in Bureau and Stark counties. Nineteen of the County’s Board’s 27 members showed up, said Bill McGinn, D-Sterling, the board’s vice chairman.
On Tuesday, members of the Public Works Committee agreed they should hold a meeting on wind farm issues later this month. They haven’t set a time and date, but promised to post that information to the county’s website.
The committee decided to go forward with the meeting after Stuart Richter, the county’s planning and zoning administrator, asked for direction on how to proceed with the ordinance’s review.
In a discussion about the recent tour, member Glenn Frank, R-Morrison, said he couldn’t understand the complaints about the noise from wind turbines.
“There was none,” he said. “I didn’t hear the noise people have talked about.”
In the audience, Deer Grove Mayor Al Thompson protested, saying there wasn’t much wind that day, at least in Whiteside County. He has called for the county to enact greater regulation of wind farms.
After the meeting, Thompson said he was glad the Public Works Committee would address the wind issue in a special meeting. He had previously asked the panel to start work soon because of a planned wind farm near Deer Grove.
“We’ve been at this since April. Now, they’re moving on it, which is good,” he said.
Ireland-based Mainstream Renewable Energy plans to extend the proposed wind farm north of Deer Grove, county officials say. The company may turn in an application for a permit this fall.
Two Mainstream representatives attended Tuesday’s meeting, but they didn’t speak.
In response to the news of the wind farm, the board of trustees for Deer Grove, population 48, unanimously voted to regulate turbines within 1.5 miles of the village limits. Deer Grove is 11 miles south of Rock Falls.
Thompson has asked the county to increase its required distance between turbines and homes from 1,400 feet to 1.5 miles.
The Public Works Committee plans to send its recommendations for changes to the wind farm ordinance to the Planning and Zoning Commission. The County Board would have the final say.
If the county makes changes to its wind farm ordinance, it must hold a public hearing.
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