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County delays sale of farm land; Expects release of report on wind turbine noise  

Credit:  BY BRIAN L. HUCHEL | The Commercial-News | March 8, 2014 | www.commercial-news.com ~~

DANVILLE – Plans for farmland owned by Vermilion County have been put on hold for the time being.

Vermilion County Board Chairman Gary Weinard said board members would hear an update at Tuesday’s meetings on the county’s plan to sell the acreage located southwest of Danville off of Catlin-Tilton Road.

The county attempted to sell the land, totaling around 120 acres, at an auction in mid-February. Bidders, however, fell short as the top bid reached a total of $925,000 – well short of the around $1.2 million or $10,000 per acre – set by the county as the minimum bid price for the total property.

Weinard said Friday for the time being the county is going to hold on to the land.

“We still have the opportunity to find a buyer,” he said. “It doesn’t cost us anything and it does generate income.”

He said the county could wait for a “bounce-back” in land pricing, but right now it’s not feasible to sell the land. The county said in February that possible decreasing grain prices resulted in the lower-than-expected bid prices for the land.

Funds from the sale were expected to go toward a number of maintenance projects on county buildings – including the Vermilion County Courthouse, the Courthouse Annex and Emergency Management Agency building, among others – that have been pushed back in recent years.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting:

Board members will officially declare a vacancy in District 5 as a result of the resignation of board member Orick “Corky” Nightlinger.

Nightlinger announced at the end of February that he would be leaving the board because he was moving out of District 5.

Weinard said he hated to lose Nightlinger, saying he has been “a very level-headed, interested and dedicated board member.”

The final report of a study of the noise produced by wind turbines in Vermilion County is expected to be released Tuesday to the Vermilion County Board.

Michael Blazer is an environmental attorney for the wind turbine company Invenergy, which owns the California Ridge wind farm in Vermilion County. Blazer is scheduled to appear before board members.

County Board Chairman Gary Weinard said he expects the final summary report of the study, although he has not seen a copy of the report himself. A release of the final results was originally scheduled by Blazer for January’s meeting, but was pushed back to this month.

The Invenergy California Ridge wind farm – which includes 134 turbines, 104 in Vermilion County – officially began operations at the end of December 2012.

The study is the result of complaints voiced by the Miles and Hartke families, both of whom live in the Hope area near two wind turbines. The Hartkes, who have the nearest turbine 1,665 feet away from their home, contend the turbine causes sleep deprivation and health problems for parents and children.

In the preliminary study results announced at the December county board meeting, Blazer said it has been determined that the Invenergy turbines are not in violation of state decibel limits in seven of the nine octave bands for residential property at night. Those limits are the lowest under regulations by the Illinois Pollution Control Board.

For the two other bands, preliminary results indicate there is a 95 percent probability that Invenergy’s turbines are not in violation of those limits.

Two experts – one originally selected by Invenergy and a second hired at the request of the Hartke and Miles families – are handling the study, which began in August. The study, however, is being conducted on property adjacent to the property of each family because neither has allowed the experts on their land as of July 29.

Source:  BY BRIAN L. HUCHEL | The Commercial-News | March 8, 2014 | www.commercial-news.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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