Members of the Logan County Board of Commissioners expect to vote next week on a controversial wind-farm development that was rejected on a tie vote in January.
Board Chairman David Hepler said Monday commissioners are prepared for large turnouts at an initial board meeting scheduled for Thursday at the Logan County Courthouse and at a second meeting scheduled for Tuesday, July 21, when a board vote is anticipated. Both meetings are scheduled for 7 p.m.
The board meetings come after the county Zoning Board of Appeals last week split two-to-two on whether to recommend a conditional-use permit for the 81-turbine Meridien wind farm.
The $400 million project planned in southern Logan County, includes the communities of Elkhart, Mount Pulaski and Broadwell.
“We’ve reserved the third-floor courtroom, which can hold up to 300,” Hepler said Monday. “We wanted to be sure we had enough space for everyone.”
Hepler said developer Meridien LLC, a U.S. subsidiary of Italian company ReLight US Corp., has made changes since the project failed on a 6-6 board vote in January.
“This is technically a vote on the revised project,” Hepler said.
The four-member Zoning Board of Appeals last week recommended five conditions for county board approval, including mitigation of light flickers from wind turbines, coordination of aerial spraying with local farmers, a five-year limit on the permit (meaning the company would have to reapply if construction failed to start within five years), payments to non-participating landowners and transfer of the requirements to any future landowners.
Mount Pulaski resident Lisa Leonard told zoning board members last week she had spoken with residents near the Railsplitter Wind Farm in northern Logan and southern Tazewell counties. Leonard said she heard the same kind of concerns about land values, project finances and environmental effects raised by opponents of the Meridien project.
But she said many residents were afraid to speak because of the divisiveness of the issue.
“Most people are afraid to say the wrong thing to the wrong person,” Leonard said.
Pam Meagher with the Logan County Board Office said plans are to take most of the public comments at the Thursday meeting but that comments would be accepted before next week’s scheduled vote.
“There were quite a few (public comments) the first time we went through this,” Meagher said.
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