BELVIDERE – The wind farm being proposed for northeastern Boone County continues to be in front of the zoning board of appeals (ZBA). And construction of a new animal control services building remains in process.
While those matters have yet to appear before the county board they brought an unusually high number of speakers to the monthly board meeting held Nov. 20.
The next ZBA meeting was scheduled for Nov. 26 and it was possible that cross-examination of associate planner Gina DelRose continued. But there were other cases to be heard as well.
Mainstream Renewable Power is proposing a project with up to 100 wind turbines for 8,000 acres bordered by North Boone School Board on the south, Grade School Road to the west, Wisconsin state line on the north and McHenry County line to the east.
Opponents presented each board member with a stack of petitions signed by 1,300 people who don’t want the development.
Resident Meredith Williams passed out copies of a letter from the superintendent of Vermillion County schools that dealt with health issues experienced by children in classrooms near a wind turbine.
She said she was concerned a similar path would be followed in Boone County.
Talking about setback
Support for a 1,500-foot setback for turbines from residential property, as recommended by the county planning, zoning and building committee, came from another speaker. She did not agree with the 1,000-foot setback being recommended by the county planning staff. That setback was approved in 2006, when an earlier wind farm proposal was ultimately rejected by the county board.
At that point board Chairman Bob Walberg said it was pointed out to him that “this is becoming too much of a production.” He asked that it stop.
Former county board member Marshall Newhouse said a view shed created in 2006 showed a 400-foot tall turbine would be visible throughout most of Boone County. The turbines proposed by Mainstream are 25 percent taller and likely would be visible as far away as Cherry Valley.
Resident Robert Christiansen talked about the possibility of a new building for animal control services. Referring to a letter to the editor that appeared in the Belvidere Daily Republican, he questioned “all of the delays that have been happening. There doesn’t seem to be a direct commitment” to the project.
A firm commitment, he said, would include a deadline. “When are we going to get it?” he asked. “This year? Next year? That’s not the way to get things done.”
Speakers during the public comment portion of the meeting are allowed three minutes to state their case. Walberg told Christiansen his three minutes were up.
“I’m answering your letter,” he told the chairman. “Will I not be able to do that?”
“Your three minutes are up,” Walberg reiterated.
With that Christiansen returned to his seat in the audience.
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