Compared with Livingston County, it’s a breeze for wind farm companies to get approval for turbines in La Salle County.
For Livingston County’s last wind farm application, the county’s zoning board conducted 30 meetings. Historically, it takes just one meeting in La Salle County to consider such a proposal, according to the county.
In November, Livingston County voters will be asked for their views in an advisory referendum on how far turbines should be from houses.
The current setback is 1,200 feet in both Livingston and La Salle counties.
But many Livingston County residents are pushing for a greater distance. Earlier this month, the County Board voted 18-1 to put a question on the ballot on wind farm setbacks.
The question reads: “In your township, do you support a distance of 1,600 feet between wind turbines and residences, rather than increasing that distance more than double, which may reduce the number of townships built in your township?”
According to the county, a “yes” vote supports 1,600 feet, while “no” means supporting significant increases to the distance.
In an interview, Chuck Schopp, Livingston County’s zoning administrator, said Tuesday board members would examine the referendum results to determine whether varying setbacks could be set in different parts of the county. The county has set a moratorium on new wind projects until new regulations are approved.
“We have no new (wind farm) applications pending,” he said. “Companies are waiting to see how we’re doing with these regulations.”
Livingston County has 175 turbines, while La Salle County has 220.
In La Salle County, Portland, Ore.-based Avangrid Renewables, the successor of Iberdrola Renewables, is looking to build a wind farm between two existing projects in the county’s southeastern county.
The company expects to seek a special use permit from the county as early as October.
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