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Public hearing to be held on wind energy ordinance

The battle over wind energy in Grundy County isn’t over yet. After a 4-3 vote from the Planning and Zoning Commission to remove the language from the zoning ordinance that allowed for the construction of large-scale wind farms, the issue will go to a public hearing on September 6, and the board of supervisors will once again have the final say on the matter.

In 2009, members of the P and Z commission, the board of adjustments and the supervisors formed a committee and eventually recommended adding wind energy conversion systems over 100 kilowatts as a permitted use in an A-2 agricultural district, which was met with little resistance from the public at the time. That, however, changed when RPM Access came to the county with a proposal for a wind farm near Wellsburg that was first rejected by the Planning and Zoning Commission but later overruled by the supervisors.

The more recent 45-turbine, 90 megawatt Ivester Wind Farm project, which has not yet been constructed but received approval from the supervisors in April, was met with a wave of strong opposition from some nearby landowners and other Grundy County residents, and Development Director PJ Saliterman told the board that he would need to come back for a second round of rezoning hearings depending on how many land parcels the company could secure. If the ordinance allowing wind energy conversion is repealed, no new projects could begin, and EDF would be forced to determine whether the current project was still economically feasible at all.

Read more in this week’s Grundy Register.