Sangamon County has passed a moratorium on wind energy projects.
The move was made last week by the full county board after originally being proposed in November. It freezes all potential wind project development in the county and allows the zoning ordinance effecting wind farms to be updated.
The moratorium anticipates plans for a 200-turbine wind farm on land that goes from the Morgan County line to Farmington to Loami to Pleasant Plains. The project, developed by American Wind Energy Management, is known as Sangamon Wind I and Sangamon Wind II.
Sangamon County administrator Brian McFadden says the county’s Public Health, Safety and Zoning Committee was getting inundated with requests to update the ordinance. Several public hearings have been scheduled so the public can voice concerns.
Concerns about Sangamon Wind I and II include the project’s impact on bird and bat population and the ability of the turbines to catch fire. McFadden says the most prevalent concern is the issue of setbacks, which refers to the distance between the turbines and the homes they’d be up near.
New Berlin will hold one hearing at the Knights of Columbus Hall from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on February 22nd. Another hearing will be in Springfield on the 29th.
McFadden says the meeting will start off with a brief presentation on the current ordinance, which hasn’t been updated in six years.
McFadden says the moratorium can last a maximum of nine months, but he believes it will end before that. American Wind Energy Management has previously stated that it wouldn’t seek a permit application for the projects until late this year or in early 2013.
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