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Seeking to avoid ‘mangled mess’ in Lee County

DIXON – The Lee County Zoning Board will take up another wind farm issue next week.

Another big controversy? Probably not.

The owner of the Shady Oaks wind farm in the West Brooklyn and Compton areas is looking to consolidate a 71-turbine wind farm under one permit.

More than 10 years ago, Bruce and Joyce Papiech of Sublette started planning the project, but sold it to Ireland-based Mainstream Renewable Power. Before the wind farm’s construction, Mainstream sold the project to Goldwind USA, a subsidiary of a Chinese company. It went online in 2012.

Along the way, the owners changed the project’s plans. Four permits resulted.

The county has since asked Goldwind to seek a single permit, which the company did.

The consolidation of permits changes nothing about the wind farm, said Chris Henkel, the county’s zoning administrator. Everything remains the same: the landscape, the towers, the cables, the taxes on the project.

“We requested this because if they wanted to do a change out there, it could affect two or three of their permits.” Henkel said. “It could become a mangled mess. This is considered housecleaning.”

If someone wanted information on the wind farm, he said, the county would have to go to only one permit, not four.

A legal advertisement about the consolidated permit was published on pages B7-9 in the May 24 editions of Sauk Valley Media.

To attend

The Lee County Zoning Board of Appeals will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in the County Board meeting room on the third floor of the Old County Courthouse, 112 E. Second St., Dixon.

The board will consider the consolidated permit for the Shady Oaks wind farm.

For more information, visit the county’s website at www.countyoflee.org or call the zoning office at 815-288-3643.