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Rules review won’t delay wind farm applications  

Credit:  Tracy Moss | The News-Gazette | 09/17/2014 | www.news-gazette.com ~~

DANVILLE – Vermilion County officials don’t plan to consider a moratorium on applications for wind-farm permits while a committee reviews rules regulating wind turbines.

“We feel we don’t have the legal ability to do that,” said county board Chairman Gary Weinard, who has consulted with county attorney Bill Donahue. “In essence, that’s zoning. From a legal standpoint, we don’t feel we can issue a moratorium.”

Weinard said the county doesn’t expect any new applications for any wind-farm projects.

But at one time, Invenergy – the owner of the county’s only existing wind farm, California Ridge – was considering an expansion of its 143-turbine farm that extends from western Vermilion County into eastern Champaign County, north of Interstate 74. Another wind farm, Hoopeston Wind, is under construction west of Rossville.

County board member Kevin Green proposed more than a month ago that now is the time to review its wind-turbine ordinance for changes, while there were no pending applications from developers.

Some residents in the county have for years been calling for changes to the ordinance, including increasing the distance a turbine must be from adjacent properties, houses and other buildings.

Last week, the county board voted in favor of forming a committee to review the ordinance. The 14 members of the board who voted in favor were appointed to that committee, but Weinard said some have indicated they will not be able to serve.

The ad hoc committee will have its first meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday in the county board chambers in the Vermilion County Courthouse Annex.

Green will lead the meeting, during which a chairman and vice chairman will be chosen and an outline and procedures of the panel’s goals will be determined.

Green said it’s an ad hoc panel created for this specific task of reviewing the wind ordinance.

He said the panel’s work, including any recommendations, should be presented to the executive committee of the county board by March 8, 2015.

Green anticipates the panel reviewing property-line setbacks, noise limits and shadow flicker, property values and decommissioning of wind turbines, among other topics.

“And if our ad hoc committee is to have any recommendations in those areas, they have to be legal, backed up by Illinois statutes or case law,” said Green, adding that any proposed changes to the ordinance would have to be approved by two-thirds of the county board.

He said everything the committee does falls under the Open Meetings Act, and he encourages any member of the public with an interest to attend.

Source:  Tracy Moss | The News-Gazette | 09/17/2014 | www.news-gazette.com

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

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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