WATSEKA – Commercial wind turbines built in Iroquois County might soon need to be located almost a full mile from homes on property not being leased to a wind farm operator.
The Iroquois County Board’s planning and zoning committee will meet at 9 a.m. Friday to vote on whether to recommend the full board approve a proposal next Tuesday to increase the wind-turbine setback.
The committee’s vice chairman, Marvin Stichnoth of rural Milford, said the proposal calls for the county’s wind ordinance to be changed so that the setback between turbines and nonparticipating primary structures – or homes located on property not being leased for a wind farm – be increased from 1,500 feet to a distance equivalent to 12 times the rotar diameter.
The change would mean a 1.7-megawatt GE turbine, with a rotar diameter of 328 feet, would be required to be at least 3,936 feet from a nonparticipating structure. The setback would be 4,608 feet for a 2.4-megawatt Nordex N117 turbine, which has a rotar diameter of 384 feet, and 4,800 feet for a 2.7-megawatt Alstom ECO122 turbine, which has a rotar diameter of 400 feet.
“It just gives a little more room to the residents who don’t want to participate,” Stichnoth said Wednesday. “If there’s larger turbines with larger rotars, then probably they’re going to be a little more noisy and they need a little more space.”
Stichnoth, who lives one mile south from a turbine that is part of the 150-megawatt Settlers Trail Wind Farm near Sheldon, said he sometimes experiences noise issues. Other residents near the wind farm have also complained that the wind turbines are too close to their homes.
“The noise especially bothers me at night sleeping,” Stichnoth said. “And being a mile away, I’m sure I don’t get as much annoying effects as people who live 1,500 feet from them.”
Another proposed change to the wind ordinance is that developers of wind farms would be required to prove shadow flicker will not affect non-participating landowners who live within one mile of a turbine. The developer would need to either prove shadow flicker will not affect a home or acquire a waiver from the affected person.
The proposed changes to the wind ordinance would first need to be approved by the full county board, which meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Administrative Center in Watseka. Then, the county’s zoning board of appeals would hold a public hearing later this month and vote on the changes, Stichnoth said. The county board would then need to approve the changes once again in August after the zoning board makes its decision.
The revised ordinance, which would only affect wind turbines not yet built, would then go into effect.
The county board first increased its setback between turbines and non-participating primary structures in June 2011, from 1,000 feet to 1,500 feet.
The board had been considering a 2,000-foot setback but went with a 1,500-foot setback because of concern that a 2,000-foot setback would lead wind-farm developers to avoid Iroquois County altogether.
The county currently has two wind farms in operation – the Settlers Trail Wind Farm and the Pioneer Trail Wind Farm near Loda, both operated by E.On Climate & Renewables North America. A special-use permit has also been granted for a third wind farm, the K4 Wind Farm, being developed by Cincinatti-based Vision Energy.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding