May 21, 2015

Bill would clarify local wind farm authority

JORDAN MADDOX H&R Springfield Bureau Writer | Herald & Review | May 21, 2015 |

SPRINGFIELD – Legislation was unanimously endorsed in a House committee Wednesday that would allow some Illinois counties and municipalities to create zoning regulations for wind farms.

The sponsor of the legislation, state Rep. Tom Bennett, R-Gibson City, said the measure clarifies existing law regarding the placement of wind turbines.

“It really has more to do with counties that don’t have zoning,” Bennett said. “There are six words we’re trying to include in two different spots, ‘notwithstanding any other provision of law.’ ”

That means if a county already has zoning regulations, officials do not need to create new rules.

A county board must give public notice of where a wind turbine is set to go no more than 30 days before it is constructed. Any county zoning code created from this legislation does not affect wind farms already in place.

State Rep. John Cavaletto, R-Salem, asked how the legislation would work for those wanting to put a turbine on their own land.

“In other words, if I lived out in the county and I had a farm and I wanted to put one of these up and somebody lived maybe a couple hundred yards from it, the county would regulate whether I could put one up or not?” Cavaletto asked.

“The county and the municipality. They would work through that,” Bennett said.

The measure earlier advanced through the Senate with a 50-0 vote. State Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, sponsored the measure in the Senate.

“I have always been a proponent of local control. Residents should be able to decide what is best for their own community,” Barickman said. “This is especially important when we are talking about large-scale, long-term power generating facilities that will alter the local landscape for decades.”

The legislation is Senate Bill 920.

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