Following the recommendation of the Bureau County Zoning Board of Appeals with a 3-2 vote, the Bureau County Board voted in favor of allowing the construction of three temporary MET towers to be built in Macon Township.
These towers are to be constructed by Leeward Renewable Energy Development and are required to be shorter than 200 feet and will be used to collect meteorological data for possible wind energy development moving forward.
These towers will be located in the northwest corner of the intersection of 1000 N. Ave. and Route 40, in the southwest corner of the intersection of 1000 N. Ave. and 1200 E. St. and on the north side of 600 N. Ave., about 5/8 mile west of Route 40.
Before the vote took place, Board Member Connie Stetson initiated a discussion and voiced her opposition to the MET towers.
“I am encouraging you all to think about this and think about Bureau County,” Stetson said. “How many wind turbines do we need? Is this going to be good for tourism, all of these turbines everywhere? Think about the red lights everywhere.”
Board Member Jim Donarski responded to Stetson verifying the Tuesday’s vote was not to allow wind turbines but to allow the proposed MET towers.
“For some reason here I think we are kind of missing the point,” Donarski said. “As far as I can see we are not voting for any wind towers. We are voting for meteorological towers.”
“MET towers lead into turbines,” Stetson responded.
After hearing public comment from concerned Bureau County residents, the board voted in favor of the construction of the towers with a 13-5 vote, with three members abstaining.
The board members who voted for approval included: Derek Whited, John Baracani, Joseph Bickett, Keith Cain, Ronald Dobrich, Donarski, Deb Feeney, Paul Humpage, Marsha Lilley, Mary Jane Marini, Kerwin Paris, Jane Piccatto and Dan Rabe.
The board members who voted against allowing the MET towers included: Stetson, James Thompson, Kristi Warren, Robert McCook and Robin Rediger.
Marshann Entwhistle, Robert Albrecht and Ralph Anderson abstained from voting.
Bureau County Resident Laura Rose was one of five who spoke during public comment against allowing the towers.
“While these MET towers in and of themselves are not intrusive, their end use is,” Rose said.
Rose said allowing the towers was the first step toward allowing further wind farms in the county and restated not all of the votes from the previous zoning board and appeals board were collected unanimously.
“While Leeward Energy has the right to pursue a business venture and landowners have the right to lease their land to be developed for a wind farm, other landowners in the same area have a right to oppose this business venture,” Rose said.
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