SYCAMORE – The DeKalb County Planning and Zoning Committee agreed Wednesday to hold a second public hearing on whether to build two 200-foot-tall wind testing towers after the first hearing was criticized for being held in too small a venue and not giving enough public notice.
A special-use permit was requested by San Diego-based EDF Renewable Energy to build the towers in South Grove Township south of Kirkland. The towers will measure wind speed and direction to determine whether the conditions are favorable to build wind turbines in that area.
The proposal received significant backlash during a public hearing last month from residents who were critical of the effect a wind farm would have on property values and how much of a nuisance it would be.
“It’s tough to sell property around windmills,” said Cindy Brown, who owns property in South Grove Township. “Voters entrust County Board officers to look out for their livelihood and preserve their lifestyle.”
Property owners in the area also were upset they didn’t receive proper notification of the hearing and that it was held in a small conference room at the DeKalb County Legislative Center in Sycamore, which could not accommodate the number of attendees.
Based on these concerns, DeKalb County Board President Mark Pietrowski made a motion to hold a second public hearing in a larger facility at a time when people are off work.
Pietrowski said the meeting likely would be in three weeks to a month, and people affected by wind towers or a potential wind farm would be notified when an exact date and time were selected.
EDF Development Director P.J. Saliterman said the additional meeting would not have any effect on the company’s plans to move forward with the meteorological towers.
Once the second hearing takes place, the Planning and Zoning Committee will rule on whether to recommend the towers’ construction to the County Board.
“Most people don’t understand that zoning decisions aren’t personal preference decisions,” said County Board member Tracy Jones, R-District 1. “We are the judge, and our job is to decide whether the applicant meets the criteria we have in place.”
The towers would be hundreds of feet away from any nearby building and would remain up for about 12 months. However, they would remain in place for another 18 months should a wind farm be approved on the property.
DeKalb County does not have an adopted ordinance regarding wind farms. A wind farm built in 2009 in Afton, Clinton, Milan and Shabbona townships was under a special-use permit with specific criteria it had to follow.
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