CLINTON – The DeWitt County Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday recommended additional restrictions on the height and placement of wind turbines, a move that drew praise from critics of a proposed wind farm northwest of Clinton.
The DeWitt County Board is expected to vote April 19 on updating the wind farm ordinance with the proposed changes. The move comes as the county considers a proposal from Trade Winds Energy of Lenexa, Kan., for a project involving 200 landowners scattered across 24,000 acres.
“I was thrilled with the community turnout in support of these ordinance changes that will better protect the health and safety of residents,” Andrea Rhoades, whose rural Kenney home would be near the Trade Winds site, told The Pantagraph after the meeting. “The unanimous vote by the ZBA to recommend these to the County Board really shows their willingness to listen to the testimony given.”
She was among about 70 people who attended the meeting of the ZBA, which recommended limiting the height of any tower to 499 feet. Currently, there is no set height limit.
It also called for requiring a minimum distance of 2,000 feet between a tower and the nearest house. The current ordinance requires a setback of 1,500 feet.
Both changes previously were recommended by the Regional Planning Commission.
Tom Swierczewski, a Trade Winds development director, previously said that if the county approves the wind farm, construction could start in 2019 and the project could go online in 2020.
The ZBA has yet to hear the Trade Winds Energy proposal, which is expected to be presented later this spring.
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