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County considers wind farm proposal

It could be a make it or break it night for the Irish company hoping to build a $400 million Wind Farm in Northeastern Boone County. County leaders are expected to decide on a potential change to the zoning ordinance. A lot of people are expected to show up to share what they think about seeing wind turbines in their backyards.

Boone County residents may one day look up to find what appear to be giant fans in the distance. Later tonight, the Belvidere City Council Chamber will be standing room only. More than a hundred are expected to voice their concerns about the changes to the zoning ordinance which would allow wind turbines to be built in Boone County. The county realizes there will be a lot of resistance at tonight’s meeting.

“It’s just, it’s a very difficult thing because there’s no consensus on it, which makes it hard,” said Gina DelRose, the Boone County Associate Planner.

The zoning board of appeals will hear from people like Brian Van Laar who say wind turbines can cause headaches, sleep deprivation, and even heart palpitations.

“What we hope happens is that the county protects us whether or not there are turbines. We believe that health and safety and welfare is paramount to anything else,” Larr says.

Mainstream renewable power wants to build more than 100 turbines on 12,000 acres in northern Boone County. The Ireland-based company says the wind farm could generate up to $2 million in property tax revenue, as well as create hundreds of jobs for the area. County leaders say they’ll try to make sure every opinion is taken into account.

“If you are submitting evidence, be prepared for it to be cross examined to see how verifiable it is. So it’d be nice if everyone came prepared, it makes things go more smoothly,” said DelRose.

Everyone will be allowed five minutes to voice their concerns at the meeting.

The meeting starts at 7:00 tonight at Belvidere City Hall. It’s expected to extend into the later hours. Once the zoning board provides its recommendation, the ordinance will go to the planning committee before it is brought to the county board for a final decision.