November 24, 2014

Wind ordinance revisions no easy task

Vermilion County First | WDAN-AM |

An ad-hoc committee on Vermilion County wind farms is moving closer to submitting its recommendations on revising the county’s wind ordinance. But getting the group to agree on some recommendations has not been an easy task. Kevin Green is the County Board member who is chairing the committee. ‘’We’re to the point right now where the different work teams have presented their draft proposals for changes to the wind farm ordinance. And at our next meeting on December 11th the work teams will be presenting their final drafts,’’ says Green.

The work teams have been studying areas of the ordinance dealing with property values, decommissioning, noise and shadow flicker, and setback requirements. Darrell Cameron of rural Rankin chairs the Set-back work group. ‘’The set-back recommendation was 2,640 feet from the non-participating owner’s property line. And the group feels that will not stop any wind farm from being developed,’’ says Cameron. ‘’It will simply allow all area residents to participate.’’ [The current set-back requirement is 1200 feet from a home.]

Green says those serving on the ad-hoc committee have been working hard. ‘’There’s been a tremendous amount of work put into this. A lot of thought…a lot of good ideas….a lot of very intelligent and concerned people (are) working on this,’’ says Green.

County Board member Dave Stone has been leading the property values work team. He told members of the ad-hoc committee there is evidence that there has been property value loss within the footprint of wind turbines in Vermilion County. Stone added: ‘’To write an ordinance that would change things – how do you do that?’’

No one has appealed to the Vermilion County Supervisor of Assessments seeking a lower tax assessment because of the alleged loss of value because of wind turbines being placed near their homes. And Green says it seems to him that if someone was not selling their home they would request such a break.

Green sent those on the Noise and Shadow Flicker work team back to the drawing board after leader Ted Hartke submitted a six-page proposal. ‘’There’s no way you’re going to get a seven page resolution passed,’’ said Green. Doug Toole, a member of the Noise and Shadow Flicker work team, questioned the resolution. Toole said it was the first time he had seen it. And when Hartke was questioned about it, Hartke said that he and his wife had written it.

Hartke has attended numerous county board meetings complaining about wind turbines. He claims a low level noise emitted by wind turbines has caused health problems for his family, which resulted with the family moving to a different location. And Hartke told members of the ad-hoc committee he is going to continue to speak out at county board meetings until the county’s wind ordinance is revised.

Meanwhile, Vermilion County Board member Chad Turner questioned who is going to enforce the acoustic noise levels of the turbines. ‘’There’s nobody to do this,’’ said Turner. ‘’The Sheriff’s going to say ‘my deputies are not acoustical engineers. They’re not going to do it,’’ he added. But Harke responded, ‘’If you can’t enforce the noise ordinance on a turbine, how can you enforce all the other laws?’’

Work is currently underway on erecting wind turbines west of Rossville. When that project is completed there will be about 200 wind turbines operating in Vermilion County. [These photos, taken Friday, November 21st, show how wind turbines have been sprouting in the area west of Rossville.]

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