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Residents, Aldridge reach agreement on wind turbine

The lawsuit filed by a group of residents who live near the wind turbine at Aldridge Electric has been settled.

David Gates, a member of Citizens for the Protection of Libertyville, said the group of residents “accepted Aldridge running his turbine from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. (The) exceptions are major holidays.”

“This was the only compromise we could manage without continuing to pay our attorney for another year of stalling, and a trial would have taken money that we simply do not have,” said Gates.

The residents filed the lawsuit in 2009 with the intent of stopping Aldridge Electric from operating its wind turbine on its property. The group tentatively had resolved the lawsuit in January.

The next step will be the Village Board’s consideration of the wind turbine ordinance.

“Our small victory was that concurrent with our lawsuit was the excellent work of the plan commission on a very good wind turbine ordinance,” said Gates.

Trustees were slated to discuss the ordinance at a committee-of-the-whole meeting Tuesday, but the meeting was deferred because two trustees were unable to attend, said Mayor Terry Weppler.

“The plan commission spent many hours discussing the ordinance and I am happy with the work they did,” said Weppler. “However, the noise levels in the ordinance at property lines are unrealistic in my opinion. If you look at the decibel levels, they are lower than other noise restrictions in the community and are potentially unattainable.”

The plan commission started public hearings in January regarding the Electric Power Facilities ordinance, which included a maximum sound level for wind energy facilities of 35 decibels between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m., and 40 decibels between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.

“There has also been discussion that the potential ramifications of the ordinance would be to totally prevent wind turbines in the village,” said Weppler. “If that’s the case, we should say we don’t want them – not pass an ordinance that effectively does the same.”

Weppler said he has “asked the board to spend some time on this issue to make sure everyone understands the ordinance before it is passed.”

“The board should review the ordinance and not rubber-stamp any issue brought before them,” he said. “We will discuss this issue as a board to make sure that what we approve is an ordinance that’s good for the community and not just based on a prior bad experience.”