Officials from Lee County’s Hamilton and Willow Creek townships want more restrictions on wind turbines. But their recent moves may be playing into the hands of the wind industry itself.
Both townships have filed formal objections with the county to a proposed wind energy ordinance. Because of those protests, three-fourths of the Lee County Board must support the ordinance for passage, rather than the usual simple majority.
While the townships dislike the proposal, it’s more restrictive than the county’s current ordinance. All sides agree on that.
The proposed rules, drafted by the Zoning Board of Appeals, address turbines’ noise and shadow flicker. They also include a program to protect the values of nearby homes and a policy for the abandonment of turbines.
None of those issues are included in the current ordinance.
On April 17, the board is expected to vote on the proposed ordinance. If three-fourths of members don’t approve, then the existing regulations stand. And that’s probably to the liking of wind energy companies.
County Board members may recognize this possible outcome, hold their noses, approve the ordinance and agree to make changes later.
Still, it’s a gamble for the townships.