Settlement of a lawsuit involving the lone wind turbine in Libertyville is nearing completion but the issue of how those facilities will be regulated in the future remains open for debate.
The Libertyville village board on Tuesday accepted a settlement agreement with residents near Aldridge Electric on Rockland Road, although residents have not yet signed off on the latest version.
“We knew nothing about any of this. We don’t have a finished copy of the agreement, we have a tentative one,” resident David Gates said Wednesday. He is a spokesman for Citizens to Protect Libertyville, formed in response to the turbine issue.
Several residents in 2009 filed the suit against the village and Aldridge to keep the company from operating the 120-foot turbine. They claimed it had disrupted their lives because of noise and other factors.
A temporary injunction was entered in Lake County circuit court limiting the hours of operation to only between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. while the case continued. The turbine has operated sporadically since.
The agreement accepted by the village does not involve a monetary payment. Neither the village nor Aldridge admits any liability and the settlement prohibits residents from suing again.
According to the agreement, hours of operation would be limited to 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and the turbine will not operate on Sunday or six national holidays.
The parties agreed to settle the case but the document approved by the village board is being reviewed by residents and could change.
The agreement says the turbine will be subject to village ordinances in place at the time it was erected.
Meanwhile, the village’s plan commission spent eight months making revisions to the ordinance with input from residents involved in the suit.
The new version has several differences, including a drop in the allowable maximum sound level from 60 decibels to 35 decibels at residential property lines.
Normally, the village board accepts the plan commission report in advance of a vote on the official ordinance.
On Tuesday, however, Mayor Terry Weppler said while he appreciated the effort, the village board needed more time to review the changes at a public session to be scheduled.
“My opinion, in essence, is that this prohibits wind turbines,” he said. “This is a sham. If we’re going to not want them, let’s say we don’t want them.”
Village Attorney David Pardys has advised the village it could be open to a legal challenge if it bans turbines outright.
“The plan commission spent eight months on this. Don’t you think it deserves more than five minutes from the board?” Weppler said.
Gates said the 35-decibel level shouldn’t be a problem if a turbine is far enough away from a residence. Aldridge, he contended, has two more turbines that wouldn’t be allowed under the revised ordinance.
“It has nothing to do with Aldridge,” Weppler said of his request for review by the village board. “The issue with the ordinance is with all properties.”
A moratorium on construction of turbines in the village remains in effect through the end of March.
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