Articles from Illinois
Construction has already begun for the new Harvest Ridge Wind Farm in Douglas County, but that hasn’t stopped an area village and more than 50 individuals from filing a pair of lawsuits against the project.
Last December, seven of the 12 board members indicated they would support a turbine setback of 2,250 feet from property lines to protect nonparticipating residents from the nuisances turbines can create, such as noise or shadow flicker, or the dangers associated with turbines catching fire or breaking. During a meeting of the board’s zoning committee on Monday night, however, two board members said they feel such a setback should only apply to residential land, not nonresidential properties.
Apex Clean Energy has proposed constructing 80 to 120 wind turbines in rural Morgan County for the Lincoln Land Wind project, but was waiting on updates to a Morgan County ordinance that came Monday. The Morgan County commissioners approved an updated ordinance addressing wind farms after more than a year of work on details of the regulation.
The new ordinance increases setbacks from 1,000 feet from a house’s foundation to 1,650 feet from the foundation of the home of a non-participating landowner and 1,320 feet from the foundation of the house of a participating landowner. ...“It’s disappointing,” said Mike Woodyard, who has been advocating for larger setbacks from the property line. “It’s a sad day when our county board refuses to recognize the rights of a property owner at the property line.”
Morgan County landowners who have signed on for a wind farm project may be getting a notice from the company they leased their land to. On Tuesday, the Ad Hoc Citizens For Property Rights Group reported that they had received documents in a FOIA request stating that participating landowners have had their leases sold to a new company – Lotus Wind LLC.
The suit asks that the special-use permit granted by the Henry County Board last December be declared void because, among other things, the county allegedly failed to hold a public hearing with notice of the particular location of the property. It also alleges Avangrid failed to identify a specific turbine model, the exact number of turbines and the final locations of turbines.
Board member Derek Whited, who is chairman of the zoning committee, is against the tilt/fell method, because of the uncertainty of its impact. He said the crane method has been the only kind of method used in Bureau County so far. He commented that when the wind company bought out the Big Sky Wind farm, they knew the decommissioning plan required them to use the crane method.
But the recent changes did include increased cost estimates for dismantling of the complex if it ceases operation. The company agreed to increase the dollar amount of the decommissioning performance bond and bear any additional costs of chemical application incurred by farmers who are not leasing land to EDP. Munson said some crop dusting contractors refuse to fly within a wind farm. Others will, but only at additional cost, he added.
Faced with mammoth amounts of information — studies, reports, comments from citizens — the Douglas County Board has pushed back a final vote on whether to let a wind farm set up shop. The board was scheduled to rule Monday on Texas-based EDP Renewables' application to build the Harvest Ridge Wind Farm in Newman and Murdock townships.
CLINTON — A $300 million wind farm will not be coming to DeWitt County. The DeWitt County Board voted 6-5 with one abstention Thursday night against a special-use permit from Tradewind Energy. The vote was taken after a two-hour meeting before a crowd of about 300 people at Clinton High School. Previously, the county's Zoning Board of Appeals and Regional Planning Commission also rejected the plan.
Board member and chairman of the county’s land use committee, Terry Ferguson, created some moments of suspense, when he introduced a series of conditions to attach to the motion to grant the special use permit. Conditions often are added to motions to try to ensure a project is conducted in accordance with county objectives. Ultimately, after some hesitation, Ferguson voted against granting the permit, creating a 6-5 vote with one abstention and failure of the motion.
Speakers addressed possible mechanical failures with wind turbines; noise; “shadow flickers” from turbine blades and other health effects; karst geology in the bluffs; other environmental issues such as wildlife and groundwater; property values; roads and other infrastructure; and “setbacks,” the required distances between turbines and homes, other structures and roadways. “There are too many what-ifs (with the current ordinance) to protect the taxpayers and the residents of our county,” said Rich Harsey, 47, of rural Waterloo.
The Illinois Senate has passed and sent to Gov. J.B. Pritzker a bill aimed at resolving a conflict in eastern Illinois over which unit of local government has authority to control zoning for wind farms. House Bill 2298 provides that only a county may enact zoning regulations for wind farms in the rural parts of a county, outside the zoning jurisdiction of incorporated cities, even in counties that don’t have countywide zoning regulations.
Some Illinois lawmakers want to rush through legislation that would change the dynamic for a plan to erect dozens of wind turbines in central Illinois. ...The measure would restrict wind farm regulations outside of a municipality to the county alone, excluding townships.
The DeWitt County Zoning Board of Appeals voted to recommend the DeWitt County Board reject the proposal of Tradewind Energy's Alta Farms II Wind Project in the northwest corner of DeWitt County at a special meeting of the ZBA at Clinton High School Tuesday night.
Members of the DeWitt County Board will be in the hot seat next month after the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) voted Tuesday to recommend the county deny a special use permit for the Alta Farms wind energy project. The ZBA voted 5-1 to send the matter to the full board for final consideration with a recommendation to not grant the permit.
Loveall, who bought his home in the Kempton area in June 2018, said Gibson told him the television-reception problems he has experienced were the home seller’s fault for nondisclosure. Gibson, meanwhile, did not tell him about the settlements the company reached with area homeowners so they could pay for alternative sources of television.
Some Douglas County residents will travel to Springfield on Thursday in hopes of testifying about proposed legislation clarifying zoning rules concerning wind farms. Specifically, the bill aims to officially establish that county wind-farm regulations would supersede township rules even in counties that have no zoning regulations.
“But it will probably be at least May” at the earliest, said Randy Ferguson, a Gibson City resident who chairs the five-member committee, “because (County Clerk & Recorder) Amy (Frederick) has an election (in April) and (State’s Attorney) Andrew (Killian) has a bunch of court dates coming up. So the next stage is going to be slowed because of that.”
Area residents recently weighed in on the proposed project to decommission and repower the Big Sky Wind Farm in Lee and Bureau counties. The 240-megawatt wind farm was built in 2010 and went online in 2011 with 114 turbines stretching across roughly 14,000 acres, with 58 in southern Lee County and 56 in Bureau County near Ohio.