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Residents provide support for wind farm objections

Pontiac, Ill. – The United Citizens of Livingston County, opposed to Invenergy’s Pleasant Ridge turbine plans, called upon several witnesses to give their opinions, and each detailed a different way as to how the project would negatively impact the community at a meeting hosted by the Livingston Zoning Board of Appeals Monday night at Pontiac Township High School.

First to speak for the UCLC was Marvin Stichnoth, a resident and former city board member of Milford. His concerns with the project stemmed from personal experiences of having the turbines near his property. He testified that the low frequency sound of the nearby turbines were similar to a “roar,” and had negatively impacted his sleeping patterns.

“The sight of them being there doesn’t bother me,” Stichnoth said. “It is the noise. When the noise affects my quality of life, that’s what I really object to.”

Next for the UCLC was Paula Kelson, a resident of Fairbury. Similarly to Stichnoth, her concern over wind turbines was also health-related. However, her experience was related to potential health problems related to the immediacy of the turbines and their distortion of air pressure.

She recalled an incident where she, a family friend and her children rode up near the turbines to get an up-close experience with them. She testified that she had experienced significant pressure in her ears as well as aches and pains in various parts of her body, most severe in her neck. She also noted that the aches associated with the experience lasted several days.

“The improper setbacks in the application could cause adverse health effects in many local families and children,” Kelson concluded.

The UCLC’s next speaker was Nelson Zehr, a farmer in the community. He took an alternative approach, suggesting that the wind farm project could have a negative impact on the local economy. He suggested that the turbines could impact calves, which are more sensitive to the elements, and that could impact livestock inventory.

Zehr further went on to say that the zoning of the turbines might negatively impact the irrigation mainline and its branches if turbines were built over them, saying that flooding could become an issue.

On top of the flooding and the potential danger to the calves, Zehr was keen to note in his presentation that of the 99 resident owners in the county who had turbines zoned for the easements on their properties, 63 of them did not live within the county and, ostensibly, would not be affected by the alleged problems of the turbine.

The final testimonial came from Amber Sanderson, another resident of Fairbury. She began by tracing the roots of the project through the language used in the zoning codes for many counties, which were drafted by a Chicago law firm with ties to Invenergy.

She also said that the language used in a study using the Hedonic Pricing Method, which suggested that real estate prices would not be affected, was faulty due to the study’s reliance on homogeneity, saying that most communities are heterogeneous, featuring variety.

“We often find that the devil is in the details,” Sanderson said. “So I wanted to make sure we were all aware of those details.”

The ZBA will host another meeting tonight in Fairbury with further testimonials.