PAXTON – An opponent of the wind-energy industry urged the Ford County Board to revise the county’s ordinance regulating wind farms Monday, calling the existing requirements “lax” and “solely for the benefit of wind companies.”
Ann Ihrke, a rural Buckley resident, has asked Ford County officials repeatedly to strengthen the county’s wind ordinance to protect property owners not leasing land to wind farm operators. She says the ordinance’s setback requirement of 1,000 feet – the distance a turbine must be from homes and other structures – is not adequate and subjects residents to noise, shadow flicker and property devaluation.
Ihrke urged the board to change its ordinance to reflect the regulations in neighboring Iroquois County, which changed its ordinance last year so that turbines must be built no closer to homes than 12 times a turbine’s rotar diameter – a distance of nearly 4,000 feet or more.
Ihrke distributed Iroquois County’s wind ordinance to Ford County Board members, plus a letter from a school district superintendent in Vermilion County who has noticed issues with a wind farm in that county.
“It’s no mystery that very few persons show up for the zoning committee hearings for proposed wind industrial parks (in Ford County),” Ihrke said. “By the time these hearings occur, the wind companies have already met all the requirements of the Ford County wind ordinance, and therefore any objections at this point are moot. If this board does not revise the current ordinance, any wind company coming into our county will be approved (for a permit), as the requirements are so lax. The present Ford County ordinance is a copy of an ordinance drawn up solely for the benefit of wind companies.
“The board is here to serve and protect all of its residents, not to pick and choose which ones they will favor. I urge you again to revisit your ordinance and beef it up so it protects every citizen of Ford County. You have been presented with a good example of an ordinance that does just that. There are many more rewritten or updated ordinances available – revised because these counties and communities have educated themselves and listened to the voices of those affected. They now realize how destructive these turbines are to people, and how they are raising the cost of energy to all of us, many of whom have already been hurt so much by this dismal economy.”
The board did not discuss the possibility of revising the ordinance Monday night.
[excerpted: rest of article available at source]
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