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Wind tower height of up to 625 recommended by zoning board

Wind turbines will be allowed a tip height of up to 625 feet in Piatt County if the county board agrees with recommendations made by the zoning board of appeals on Thursday.

The 625 feet is an increase from the 500 feet in the current 2009 wind ordinance for the county. It is less than the 675 that had been requested by Apex Clean Energy, which has announced plans to develop a wind farm in northern Piatt County.

ZBA members also voted to recommend a limit of 15 hours per year of shadow flicker affecting homes near wind turbines. Shadow flicker is not addressed in the current ordinance. Owners would be able to waive that limit if desired.

The county board will consider those ordinance amendments at its next regular meeting on Jan. 13. In recent months, the board has endorsed ZBA setback recommendations of 1.3 times the tower tip height to the nearest primary structure, or 1,600 feet, whichever is greater. The same ratio was approved for setbacks from towers to adjacent property lines, or 1,000 feet, whichever is greater.

Noise limits have also been addressed, with the county opting to use Illinois Pollution Control Board standards, which experts have said limits noise to 46 dBa at adjacent homes.

This story will be updated.