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The Worth County Planning and Zoning Commission met Friday night over Zoom to vote to approve the final draft of the wind turbine ordinance.
The ordinance draft was approved by a unanimous 4-0 decision by the commission.
After reviewing public comment on the wind ordinance in the previous meeting on Wednesday, the commission only made minor changes to the ordinance to help clarify definitions, as well as a minor tweak to the maximum noise output level of the turbine measured from property lines.
The much-debated setback distance of wind turbines remained unchanged at 1,600 feet from the property line of landowners.
The recommendation for approval from the Planning and Zoning Commission will now be presented to the Worth County Board of Supervisors on Monday morning by zoning commission chair Jeff Gorball.
Once presented, the board of supervisors will ultimately have the final say whether to enact the ordinance as is, make changes or to reject it entirely.
The wind ordinance has been drafted partly in response to Invenergy’s Worthwhile Wind project, which aims to build a 30,000-acre wind farm in Worth and Winnebago counties.
Opponents of Worthwhile Wind have pointed to the negative impacts of wind turbines on the health, safety and welfare of county residents as a reason for more regulation. Proponents of the project claim that nobody has had an issue with wind turbines until recently, and point to the $4.8 million in tax revenue the project would bring in for infrastructure improvements to the county.
Invenergy did not provide any official feedback to the Worth County Planning and Zoning Commission over the wind ordinance, according to Gorball. However, Invenergy has claimed on several occasions, and as recently as last Wednesday, that due to their vested rights, the Worthwhile Wind project would not be subject to any of the regulations from a potential ordinance.
The ordinance will be presented to the board of supervisors on Monday. There is no timeline on when the supervisors will make a final decision regarding the ordinance.
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