The Deer Grove Zoning Code permits a request for variance satisfying the test for “prohibited use” by the zoning authorities. Jurisdictional authority for regulating wind farms within 1.5 miles of incorporated Deer Grove belongs to the village, not Whiteside County.
I suggest an errant precedent in which Lee County approved permits for turbines within 1.5 miles of Compton and West Brooklyn does not set an acceptable standard to follow in Deer Grove’s case.
For Whiteside County to approve two permits within 1.5 miles of Deer Grove is an abuse of jurisdictional authority by encroaching on the jurisdictional authority statutorily granted to Deer Grove.
Public Act 95-203, effective Aug. 16, 2007, transferred wind farm siting jurisdiction in the 1.5-mile radius around the zoning jurisdiction of an incorporated municipality from county to municipal jurisdiction. Two excerpts from PA 95-203 often cited at pro-wind zoning conferences throughout Illinois confirm the law, its understanding, and its application.
As a result of PA 95-203, the counties code currently reads (55 ILCS5/12020) “a county may also regulate the siting of wind farms and electric-generating wind devices in unincorporated areas of the county outside of the zoning jurisdiction of a municipality and the 1.5-mile radius surrounding the zoning jurisdiction of a municipality.”
As a result of PA 95-203, the Municipal Code currently reads (65 ILCS5/11-13-26)(a) “a municipality may regulate wind farms and electric-generating wind devices within its zoning jurisdiction and within the 1.5-mile radius surrounding its zoning jurisdiction.”
In an informal opinion, rendered on Sept. 30, 2010, concerning the city of Golden, the Illinois Attorney General’s Office answered the questions, “Does an unzoned incorporated village have authority over wind turbine permits within the 1.5-mile buffer surrounding its corporate border, or does the village have to have a zoning ordinance in place? Can an unzoned village regulate wind turbine permits within the 1.5-mile buffer”?
The attorney general rendered this opinion: “The new law allows an incorporated village without applicable zoning ordinances to regulate wind turbine facilities within the 1.5-mile radius surrounding its zoning jurisdiction. In effect, the new law expands the power of a municipality to regulate land uses beyond its zoning jurisdiction or corporate boundaries.”
The opinion went on to say, “I have relied upon the plain statutory provision quoted above, and this is what the courts must do if called upon to interpret and construe the language.”
Bob Logan, Franklin Grove
Note to readers – Bob Logan is the village president of Franklin Grove.
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