- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Wind panel reaches the end, sort of

DIXON – A Lee County panel that is drafting new wind energy rules has saved the most controversial issues for last.

Thursday, the Zoning Board of Appeals got to the last page of a proposed ordinance. But over the course of the summer, the board skipped the diciest sections.

Probably the biggest issue is the required distance between houses and wind turbines, which is now 1,400 feet, or a little more than a quarter-mile.

Some want the county to increase that distance to a mile or more.

Other controversial sections include turbines’ noise, shadow flicker, the protection of nearby property values and the decommissioning of turbines.

During Thursday’s meeting, Steve Robery, a rural Franklin Grove resident, asked the board to have Dr. Carl Phillips, an epidemiologist and an expert on the health effects of turbines, speak before the panel. Such a presentation, including questions, likely would take up an entire 2-hour meeting, he said.

Member Mike Pratt feared that allowing the expert would open the meetings to other presenters.

Board Chairman Ron Conderman agreed.

“We’re going to have to draw a line in the sand,” he said.

Conderman said it would be hard for the board to have the opinions of two competing experts.

“How are we going to know who is right? You get two college professors with two different reasonings. What makes our decision easier?” he said.

Franklin Grove Mayor Bob Logan, however, said the County Board chose the zoning board members with confidence that they could handle tough tissues.

“That’s why these fellows have been selected. When they hear good information, they can sort it out,” he said.

Member Tom Fassler said he didn’t see how the board could deny the request for the expert.

The board voted 4-1 in favor of letting Phillips speak, probably at the Oct. 6 meeting. Voting in favor were Fassler, Pratt, Glen Bothe and Craig Buhrow. Conderman dissented.

“It’s a waste of a meeting,” the chairman said.

“That’s your opinion, Ron,” Fassler responded.

To attend

The Lee County Zoning Board of Appeals next meets at 7 p.m. Sept. 15 in the County Board meeting room on the third floor of the Old County Courthouse, 112 E. Second St.

For more information, go to www.countyoflee.org or call the zoning office at 815-288-3643.