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Peoria County Board to vote on couple’s wind turbine proposal

PEORIA – A proposal for a personal wind turbine in Medina Township will come back before the Peoria County Board on Thursday with a recommendation not to approve the measure.

Petitioners George and Kim Blackburn want to put a 70-foot tower on their riverfront property to reduce their “carbon footprint.” They had tried unsuccessfully to have the measure approved by the board in May but it was sent back to the Zoning Board of Appeals for further study on what effect the turbine might have on birds.

The ZBA, at its meeting last month, gave the idea a negative recommendation. And the Land Use Committee deadlocked at its meeting. Both of those likely signal a tough road to passage at Thursday night’s board meeting.

In May, the full board voted 12-6 to send it back to the ZBA.

County Board member and Land Use Committee chairman Stephen Morris said he’s all for renewable energy but was concerned about the tower’s proposed site. Opponents have derisively called it a “bird blender” in the past, saying eagles and other migratory birds would be put at risk.

“This is a migratory bird path for eagles, pelicans and other waterfowl. If there is a hierarchy in the bird world, then I think that bald eagles are higher than crows,” Morris said. “I just don’t think this is right place for it.”

Others worry turbines such as the one proposed by the Blackburns could affect tourism. In response, the Blackburns have said they believe birds are relatively safe from the turbine’s blades.