Boone County Debates Language of Wind Ordinance

By: Landon Cassman, Meghan Dwyer Email
By: Landon Cassman, Meghan Dwyer Email

UPDATE (WIFR) -- The Boone County Board could vote on amendments to a new wind ordinance Dec. 19th.

Tonight an advisory committee decided to recommend a new rule to the full Board. In essence, it would require wind turbines to be no more than three times their height from a property line. In other words, take the height of a turbine and multiply it by three. That's how far away the turbine will have to be, in feet, from the edge of your property.

Right now it's only a recommendation. The committee couldn't agree on other rules, so debate at the next Board meeting could be lengthy.

The proposed language changes come from county staff and the Zoning Board of Appeals.

The full text of some of the changes can be found here: http://www.boonecountyil.org/sites/default/files/10-2012%20Advisory%20Report.pdf

UPDATE -- Boone County neighbors spent more than 3 hours Tuesday night presenting both the pros and the cons of changing local rules concerning wind turbines.

The Boone County Board may change the required distance between a wind turbine and a house. Right now, it’s one thousand feet, but might be increased to two thousand feet. Turbines would also have to be 16 hundred feet from gas pipelines. Some neighbors believe living too close to turbines could make them sick. Others in Boone County say stricter rules could scare away wind turbine companies, and the money and jobs they could bring.

“I see it as mostly a good thing for the county. I see a lot of tax revenue coming for the school district and for the taxing bodies. I also see a lot of money coming for the farmers,” says Boone County resident Debbie Doetch.

“Everything we've done has been to get us up there into the peace and quiet of the country. I'm not so much worried about the noise as I am the health effects on us and the animals,” says Mary Ianni who owns a farm in Boone County.

After 20 or so speakers, the meeting ended around 11pm and will pick up next Tuesday night.

BOONE COUNTY (WIFR) -- It could be a make it or break it night for the Irish company hoping to build a $400 million Wind Farm in Northeastern Boone County. County leaders are expected to decide on a potential change to the zoning ordinance. A lot of people are expected to show up to share what they think about seeing wind turbines in their backyards.

Boone County residents may one day look up to find what appear to be giant fans in the distance. Later tonight, the Belvidere City Council Chamber will be standing room only. More than a hundred are expected to voice their concerns about the changes to the zoning ordinance which would allow wind turbines to be built in Boone County. The county realizes there will be a lot of resistance at tonight's meeting.

"It's just, it's a very difficult thing because there's no consensus on it, which makes it hard," said Gina DelRose, the Boone County Associate Planner.

The zoning board of appeals will hear from people like Brian Van Laar who say wind turbines can cause headaches, sleep deprivation, and even heart palpitations.

"What we hope happens is that the county protects us whether or not there are turbines. We believe that health and safety and welfare is paramount to anything else," Larr says.

Mainstream renewable power wants to build more than 100 turbines on 12,000 acres in northern Boone County. The Ireland-based company says the wind farm could generate up to $2 million in property tax revenue, as well as create hundreds of jobs for the area. County leaders say they'll try to make sure every opinion is taken into account.

"If you are submitting evidence, be prepared for it to be cross examined to see how verifiable it is. So it'd be nice if everyone came prepared, it makes things go more smoothly," said DelRose.

Everyone will be allowed five minutes to voice their concerns at the meeting.

The meeting starts at 7:00 tonight at Belvidere City Hall. It's expected to extend into the later hours. Once the zoning board provides its recommendation, the ordinance will go to the planning committee before it is brought to the county board for a final decision.


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