Pontiac, Ill. – The members of the Agriculture, Zoning and Emergency Services Committee announced Tuesday night that they had a draft near completion regarding special considerations for the Pleasant Ridge Wind Energy proposal to be brought up at the next County Board meeting. However, the committee did not feel the contents of the draft were ready yet for public release.
The wind energy proposal still has life after a controversial tie vote at June’s Livingston County Board meeting put the project back on the AZESC’s table of topics.
Midway through the meeting, AZESC Chair Bill Flott segued the committee discussion into the wind energy proposal item on the agenda, and gave the floor to Zoning Administrator Chuck Schopp.
“We are working on the conditions,” Schopp told the committee and the half dozen county residents at the meeting. “They’re not quite finalized; they’ll be part of the County Board packet that comes out Friday or Monday.
“You’ll have the conditions, which will be made public at that point in time, so you’ll have some time to review them before the County Board meeting.”
After Schopp’s update, Flott suggested to the committee members that they should contact Schopp if they had any questions or concerns regarding the conditions or the language used to describe them.
“We’ve spent a lot of time on these conditions,” Flott said. “We think we’ve got a set together that’s going to work. We just haven’t gotten them all printed and ready to go yet. “
Flott later said that he, Schopp, Committee Member Bob Young and several attorneys were preparing the packet of special conditions.
“We did consider all the suggestions that came in,” he said. “We looked through all those, and for the most part, they’ll be in there in one fashion or another.”
County Board Office manager Alina Hartley then brought attention to County Board Chairman Marty Fannin’s involvement in drafting the conditions.
“I just wanted to note that Chairman Fannin did work on the special use conditions prior to him” being out of the area,” she said.
At the June County Board meeting, Fannin had voted “no” to the Zoning Board of Appeals recommendation to deny the wind farm application. He later said in a radio interview that he had mistakenly voted the wrong way. His vote created a tie, with half the board wanting to approve a special use permit and the others wanting to deny permit issuance.
The committee informally agreed that the special considerations should be posted on the county government’s website. Hartley said that such postings were not typical, but given the contentious nature of the topic, agreed that accessible, public release of the information was in the county’s best interest.
Before the meeting was adjourned, Flott opened the floor to public comment. Community resident Bill Zehr posited the idea of a non-binding county referendum on the subject of wind farms in order to poll public opinion on the subject.
Young agreed with the idea in principal, though he and the other present committee members expressed concern with both the difficulty in laying out the precise language of such a referendum, as well as which public entity (whether the county or its townships) was in the best position to issue such a referendum.
The special conditions drafted by the AZESC will be brought before the County Board at the July 16 meeting of the whole.
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