BELVIDERE – The Boone County Zoning Board of Appeals listened to more than three hours of testimony Tuesday night from Michigan and Illinois property owners who said having wind turbines near their homes ruined their health and plummeted property values.
In the next 1 to 2 months, the board will vote on whether to recommend zoning ordinance amendments to the County Board that would increase the setback distances between homes and wind turbines. The amendments would require wind turbines to be placed 2,640 feet or 5.5 times the height of the turbine’s highest point – whichever is greater – from property lines.
Supporters of the amendment say that when wind turbines are too close to homes, they can disrupt sleep cycles, cause health problems and make properties less attractive to potential buyers. Those who oppose the amendments say the proposed setbacks are too extreme and would make wind turbine development in Boone County essentially impossible.
“No matter how worthy you believe a cause, other people’s lives should not be disregarded or their health and welfare diminished in an effort to achieve your goal,” said Cary Shineldecker, of Mason County, Michigan, who recently sold his home on 16 acres of land for $80,000 under his original asking price.
Shineldecker said lack of sleep deteriorated his and his wife’s mental and physical well-being and both were prescribed medication for anxiety after wind turbines were built on their property.
More than 50 people attended the meeting to watch the final testimonies of witnesses who support the increased setbacks. Witnesses who oppose the proposed amendments will speak at the zoning board’s next meeting sometime in April.
Shineldecker said that Boone County’s current setback laws, which require wind turbines be placed 1,000 feet or 1.1 times the height of the turbine from primary structures, are “completely inadequate to protect the welfare of residents.”
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