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Peoria County Board denies couple permit for personal wind turbine

The Peoria County Board sided with several neighbors who spoke out Thursday night against a personal wind turbine a Medina Township couple wanted to erect on their riverfront property.

Only board members Brad Harding, Bonnie Hester and Paul Rosenbohm voted to allow George and Kim Blackburn a special use permit to place a 70-foot tower on the property off River Beach Drive.

The rest of the board agreed with the half-dozen residents who spoke at the meeting that the wind turbine wasn’t appropriate for the area, which is known for its scenic river views and abundant wildlife, including eagles and other migratory birds.

Passage was considered iffy at best given a negative recommendation from Zoning Board of Appeals in August. Still, several residents urged the board to say no, citing potential harm to birds, noise and the possible effects on their property values.

Board member Jim Fennell, who represents the area, opposed it, saying allowing the Blackburns to put up the turbine could “open the door” for others.

“This is not an area for a wind turbine,” he said.

Harding urged his fellow board members to vote yes, noting the Blackburns followed county code.

“What message are we sending if board blocks someone who followed the rules and did what they were asked,” he said.

Kim Blackburn, who spoke at the meeting, said afterward she was considering legal action.

The board also:

– Approved two agreements with the city of Peoria. One agreement allows county vehicles to use city-owned fuel depots and the other involves striping of roads and maintenance of traffic-control devices.

– Heard the county had received a clean audit – one that had no errors and no recommendations for improvements – for two consecutive years by a national CPA firm. Board member Allen Mayer said such a rating in two consecutive years is extremely rare.