Plat and Planning subcommittee discusses potential wind ordinance

By Jim Allen
The Plat and Planning Committee met at 9:00 April 9, 2021 at the County Courthouse with Chair Tom Hettinger, and board members Dick Hein, and Gary Luth.  Jim Mikeworth was not able to attend.  Supervisor of Assessments Cindy Baer updated the committee on pending building permits.  The Supervisor of Assessments helps with research on flood plain issues as well as setback requirements and building requirements.  

Aaron Patrick from the Douglas County Health Department was present to clarify issues presented last month regarding animal waste from dog kennels.  The Illinois Department of Public Health has no jurisdiction over the handling of animal waste unless such waste is disposed through a septic system or other underground means.  The waste from dog kennels may be disposed of as any other animal waste by spreading over agricultural land.  

As there was no other business, the Chair asked those in attendance if they had any comments or questions. I asked the committee if they were aware of any contact to their constituents by a company seeking wind and solar leases.  The company is Cordelio Power or Real Energy Service of Canada.  No committee member was aware of any  contact nor were they aware of the company referenced.

I found information showing that an area from I-57 to the west county line and from Rte 36 to the north county line was being considered for development by Cordelio Power.  A letter has been sent to some “select Douglas County residents” (wording in the letter) regarding the  possibility of leases. The letter also states that representatives from Cordelio Power and Real Energy Service will be in the area in the coming weeks to further the groundwork.

Concern was raised that the county could be constrained by the present ordinance that was written when tip heights were 300’.  Wind turbines are now reaching a tip height of 750’.  

If no changes are made in a timely fashion, a company could claim that they were proceeding in good faith on what is in the ordinance at this time.  Because of this, it is vitally important that the existing WECS ordinance from 2009 be updated.  

After discussion, Chair Tom Hettinger stated that a committee will be established within two weeks to address changes that need to be made to the existing ordinance.  The county board has previously stated that citizens from the different districts will be included in the ordinance committee.  The two weeks will allow the full board to meet and determine the makeup.  The Plat and Planning committee agreed that time was of the essence.

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