Following its recent and very unpopular recommendation to place rural family residences in harm’s way by refusing to substantially lengthen technically obsolete 12 year old, 1,400 foot wind turbine setbacks, the Lee County Zoning Board of Appeals has committed yet another outrage.
After holding six months of public hearings to review Lee County’s Wind Energy Ordinance, the zoning board posted its rewritten version on the Lee County website. Preposterously, its members radically changed the “Purpose” of the ordinance. The original ordinance’s stated purpose was “to regulate and control the establishment, erection and operation of wind energy systems within the county”. Our zoning board added the phrase, “in order to promote wind energy” to the end of the above quoted sentence.
A zoning board of appeals (or a county board) has no business or legal authority to write or establish an ordinance that “promotes” the ambitions of special interests.
What’s even more egregious is that this “wind developer-favoring “rewrite” never appeared on chairman Conderman’s agenda for discussion during the entire six months of public hearings. Allegedly, (and most probably) such devious behavior constitutes a serious violation of the Illinois Open Meetings Act.
Over the past year, writers of numerous articles, editorials and letters published in our local newspapers deplored ongoing “arrogant, dismissive, and retaliatory” behavior by top Lee County officials, characterizing them as running the county for the benefit of those who govern and not for the benefit of those who are governed. Our zoning board officials’ refusal to properly regulate wind farms to protect the health and property values of rural Lee County families is yet the latest example of such poor governing behavior.
I encourage Lee County Board members and caring citizens from throughout our beautiful (but wind farm endangered) county to attend our Zoning Board’s self-described “Clean-up Meeting”, this Thursday, at 7 p.m.. Its members need to be told to stop favoring wind companies and revise our wind energy ordinance to truly promote and protect the health, general welfare and property values of all Lee County citizens.
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