EUREKA – Perhaps it was appropriate the Woodford County Zoning Board of Appeals meeting Tuesday night dealt mostly with wind energy.
The meeting certainly featured plenty of energy.
By the time the meeting ended, almost four hours after it began, the appeals board had approved revisions to the Woodford County Zoning Ordinance section that regulates wind-energy conversion systems.
“Our committee wants to make sure wind energy in Woodford County is safe,” County Board member Duane Kingdon said.
Kingdon belongs to the conservation, planning and zoning committee that spent months drafting the revisions. All that prevents them from becoming official is approval by the full County Board, which at its February meeting is expected to consider them.
Major ordinance changes involve the positioning of wind turbines and the shadow their blades cast.
Towers would need to be located at least four times their height from residences that aren’t part of the wind farm. A typical tower can be taller than 400 feet. Currently, the regulated distance is at least 750 feet.
Shadow flicker – in which rotating wind-turbine blades cast shadows upon stationary objects – would be limited to 30 hours per calendar year. Fees and procedures for decommissioning wind farms also were revised.
“We tried to come up with something that was fair,” committee member Shannon Rocke said.
The committee’s handiwork was much debated by the appeals board, as well as the people who addressed it. The committee received some praise, but other speakers accused it of being opposed to wind-farm development in the county.
“That’s completely unfair,” Rocke said.
During a discussion about why some aspects of the ordinance differed from those of other counties, Rocke invoked the Founding Fathers’ quest for American independence.
“I don’t think we need to base our county’s ordinance on another county’s ordinance,” committee Chairman Doug Huser said.
The proposed revisions don’t affect Minonk Wind LLC. Wind-turbine construction is expected to begin in April on property located east-southeast of Minonk.
The appeals board also approved special-use permits for construction of three permanent meteorological towers on Minonk Wind LLC property. According to project manager Duane Enger, the towers are about 320 feet tall.
Again, the County Board also must approve.
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