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DeKalb County hearing officer recommends approval for wind ordinance

SYCAMORE – A DeKalb County hearing officer is not recommending any changes to setback requirements in the county’s draft wind energy ordinance, but thinks other regulations should be less restrictive.

The approval recommendation from hearing officer Dale Clark will be considered Wednesday night during the Planning and Zoning Committee meeting. The recommendation comes after Clark heard hours of related comment during two public hearings Sept. 24.

Clark said he is recommending the turbine setback to stay at least six times the turbines’ height away from neighboring properties. He said a wind energy development company could work around those restrictions by proposing a wind farm with shorter turbines, or seeking waivers from neighboring properties, according to Friday county documents.

Clark acknowledged that Concerned Citizens for DeKalb County, the group opposing the plans of wind developer EDF Renewable Energy, wanted a minimum setback of 6,652 feet, or 13 times the tip height.

“The effect of adopting a minimum 6,652 property line setback irrespective of tip height would inhibit [wind energy conversion system] production unreasonably,” Clark wrote in the recommendation.

Clark said in his recommendation that a zero-effect shadow flicker rule would be unreasonable to mandate for wind energy developers, since the county has not required the same for other agriculture businesses. He also said sound limitations are extreme and don’t take into account ordinary night sounds including trains, traffic or ordinary wind noise.

The committee meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the DeKalb County Health Facility multi-purpose room on North Annie Glidden Road in DeKalb.