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Proposed changes could help those who live near Woodford Co. wind farms

EUREKA – Some proposed changes to the Woodford County zoning code will help landowners who live near wind farms, but whose properties are not involved in the projects.

“We are trying to protect people who live in and among these (wind farms) without (the turbines) interfering in their daily life,” said Shannon Rocke, a member of the Conservation, Planning and Zoning Committee. “It’s about property rights. These (turbines) are going to be up for 30 years.”

CP&Z member Duane Kingdon agreed. “There comes a time when we need to update our ordinances,” Kingdon said. “We now have more knowledge and more experience about the health effects of wind farms.”

The proposals, which require approval of the county board, include increasing the distance between a turbine and any non-participating, habitable farm; banning a turbine that would produce more than 30 hours of annual shadow flicker at a house on non-participating property; and financial proof that the wind farm owner can complete the project.

The ZBA also would require a Woodford County bank to hold half of the money needed to decommission a wind farm, with the remainder held in a surety bond.

“The decommissioning would have a restricting effect on profitability and would inhibit the ability to site a wind farm in Woodford County,” said Andrew Downey of Streator, who described himself as a turbine host and a consultant for Invenergy Wind.

Dan Davidson, a county resident who favors wind development, accused members of the CP&Z of being “anti-wind.”

“This is the only opportunity of Woodford County getting more revenue,” Davidson said. “There is a lot of bias against wind farms on this committee.”