November 16, 2011

Board rejects wind proposal; Company likely to submit request for wind turbines

BY DAVID GIULIANI, 16 November 2011

MORRISON – The Whiteside County Board on Tuesday rejected a proposal that aimed to help incorporated towns regulate wind farms.

The vote appears to have ended the board’s review of the county’s wind regulations. Since the summer, the board’s Public Works Committee held a few meetings to look at the county’s rules.

With the process finished, Ireland-based Mainstream Renewable Power is expected to turn in its application for wind turbines near Deer Grove by month’s end.

The wind farm also would be in Lee and Bureau counties. Most of the turbines are planned for Lee County, with only a small fraction in Whiteside County, the company says.

By a 20-7 vote, the board rejected a proposed policy that wind farm developers come to an agreement with unzoned, incorporated towns for the siting of wind towers within 1.5 miles of the towns’ boundaries.

Under the policy, the county would have honored the agreements as part of the special-use permitting process.

Member Jim Duffy, D-Sterling, introduced the proposal last month. At the time, it would have applied to Deer Grove and Coleta. Since, Deer Grove, population 48, enacted a zoning ordinance. Some officials believed that step was needed before the village could regulate turbines outside its limits.

Now, Coleta, population 164, is the only unzoned, incorporated town in the county. Its village president, Sally Douglas, says her board hasn’t discussed the wind issue.

Duffy said he introduced the proposal because he wanted all communities to have the same protection, whether they have zoning ordinances or not.

“This [policy] has the same effect as a zoning ordinance,” he said.

However, member Glenn Truesdell, D-Rock Falls, said the policy was unnecessary.

“It’s bad government to pass a resolution aimed to protect a small group of people,” he said.

Truesdell said Coleta had the right to pass a zoning ordinance.

“This isn’t a proposition the county needs to be involved in,” he said.

Board Chairman Tony Arduini called for the proposal’s defeat.

He got what he wanted. Just seven members supported the policy – Duffy; Kurt Glazier, R-Sterling; Karen Nelson, D-Rock Falls; Roger Schipper, R-Morrison; Bud Thompson, R-Prophetstown; Jon Hinton, R-Prophetstown; and Doug Wetzell, R-Deer Grove.

In its review, the Public Works Committee only recommended one change to the county’s wind regulations, increasing the required distance between homes and turbines from 1,400 feet to 1,600 feet.

But the Executive Committee voted against the increase. The full board never voted on the setback issue.

How they voted

Here’s how the Whiteside County Board members voted on a proposal to require wind farm developers to come to an agreement with unzoned, incorporated towns for the siting of wind towers within 1.5 miles of their boundaries:


Dick Cox, R-Sterling

Jim Arduini, D-Sterling

Bill McGinn, D-Sterling

Sarah McNeill, D-Sterling

Tom Ausman, D-Sterling

Ruth Stanley, R-Sterling

Bob VanDeVelde, D-Sterling

Tony Arduni, D-Rock Falls

Bill Milby, D-Rock Falls

John Espinoza, D-Rock Falls

Eugene Jacoby, D-Rock Falls

Robert McKanna, D-Rock Falls

Glenn Truesdell, D-Rock Falls

Paul Cunniff, D-Rock Falls

Bill Abbot, R-Fulton

Sue Britt, D-Morrison

Glenn Frank, R-Morrison

Ken Roeder, D-Fulton

Steve Wilkins, D-Morrison

Mark Hamilton, R-Fulton


Jim Duffy, D-Sterling

Kurt Glazier, R-Sterling

Karen Nelson, D-Rock Falls

Roger Schipper, R-Morrison

Bud Thompson, R-Prophetstown

Jon Hinton, R-Prophetstown

Doug Wetzell, R-Deer Grove

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