LEXINGTON, ILL. – McLean County is home to two wind farms, and may soon be home to two more.
One of those is coming with lots of controversy.
A meeting Monday night stemmed from a state law allowing counties to regulate wind turbine construction near municipalities.
In 2016 McLean County passed that ordinance meaning communities like Lexington can decide whether or not turbines can be go up within a mile and a half of the city.
Now the proposal in Lexington passed with a tie breaker Monday night from the mayor who said it was a tough decision for the city; however, he said there are benefits for their schools.
“The school will get their portion of the tax revenue off of each turbine,” said Spencer Johansen, Mayor of, Lexington. “If there’s nine turbines … they’ll get X amount of dollars off of each turbine.”
A few hundred turned out to show support either for or against it the wind farm.
Laurie Sleeter lives near where the turbines would be built and she’s not happy, citing noise and health concerns.
“This issue unfortunately has started to divide the town, and it’s sad,” said Sleeter. “If it was a great opportunity for … tax money or opportunities in other ways, then we should be able to talk about it, and we haven’t had that opportunity.”
“We’ve had people say that they are noisy,” said Dale Thomas, a Lexington Resident and Manager at another nearby wind farm. “The farmers … running their grain driers, I can hear them from our office building … a mile and a half away, and I can’t hear the wind turbine that’s six hundred feet from our office building.” Thomas added that it is “all a perspective of how ever you want to twist it.”
Originally there were eighteen proposed turbines within the mile and a half radius around the city.
As part of Monday night’s close vote only nine were approved.
The decision heads to the county zoning board who will review the potential wind farm Tuesday night.
The zoning board will eventually pass it on to the county board.
If approved, the entire wind farm would bring over a hundred wind turbines to northern McLean County.
The county will also soon be looking into another wind farm nearby.
We will keep you updated on the story.
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