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When will wind hearings end?  

Credit:  BY DAVID GIULIANI | www.saukvalley.com 4 September 2012 ~~

DIXON – Some Lee County Board members are wondering about the timeline for the hearings on the proposal for a wind farm in the southwestern corner of the county.

Since early July, the Lee County Zoning Board of Appeals has held four hearings for Mainstream’s planned 53 turbines, part of a three-county project.

Another hearing is scheduled for today.

At a meeting of the County Board’s Properties Committee last month, members questioned Lee County’s zoning officer, Chris Henkel, about how long the hearings would take. The answer to that is not known, he said.

But Henkel said he would speak with the hearing facilitator, Tim Slavin, a retired judge, to ensure the timely handling of the wind farm’s company’s application while allowing for public comment.

During three of the hearings, Mainstream-hired property appraiser Michael Crowley was on the witness stand. Wind turbines, he argued, wouldn’t hurt the values of nearby properties in the long run.

Many disagreed, including Rick Porter, a Rockford attorney representing Hamilton Township and other landowners opposed to the wind farm. Porter spent a couple of meetings questioning Crowley. After that, a number of residents followed suit, many asking the same questions in different ways.

At one point, Porter said he, too, would bring an expert witness on property appraisals, which could consume still more hearings.

After the hearings end, the zoning board will make a recommendation. The Lee County Board has the final say, but it may decide after Dec. 1, when a new board takes office.

Today, the zoning board will vote on whether to treat the hearing transcripts as minutes. If it does, officials promise to post the transcripts on the county’s website soon.

Whiteside County puts its Mainstream hearing transcripts online as soon as it receives them. In Lee County, Henkel has allowed people to review the transcripts in his office, while State’s Attorney Henry Dixon has said the documents shouldn’t be made public yet.

To attend

The Lee County Zoning Board of Appeals meets at 7 tonight on the third floor of the Old Lee County Courthouse, 112 E. Second St. in Dixon. The meeting is expected to last 2 1/2 hours.

The board will resume its public hearing for Mainstream Renewable Power’s application for turbines in the southwestern area of the county.

For an agenda for this meeting, minutes from past meetings, or more information, go to www.leecountyil.com or call 815-288-5676.

Source:  BY DAVID GIULIANI | www.saukvalley.com 4 September 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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