Tazewell ZBA rejects citizen group's wind farm ordinance overhaul, but signals openness to some changes
Tazewell County's Zoning Board of Appeals is recommending against county board adoption of a restrictive new ordinance on wind farm developments.
ZBA chairman Duane Lessen says the changes pitched by the United Citizens of Tazewell County group may be too onerous.
"It would essentially stop wind energy in the county. There's no one single tract that would be qualified," he said.
Lessen said the county's land use committee was already working on revisions to the current wind energy ordinance, but that effort paused when the UCTC language was introduced.
The ordinance proposed by UCTC would require wind towers to be 3,000 feet from all property lines, or six times the height of the wind tower. That's a major change from the current ordinance, which requires wind towers to be located at least 750 feet from an adjoining property's dwelling, or no less than one and one-tenths the tower's height.
Tazewell County Board member Russ Crawford said there's probably a middle ground to be found.
"We don't want to end economic development in regards to wind farms in Tazewell County," said Crawford. "On the other hand, we believe that the current ordinance is insufficient in terms of protecting the citizens of Tazewell County."
The zoning board objected to other items in the proposed ordinance, including soil testing requirements and a demand for wind companies to place $100,000 in a money-market account with the county to cover costs of special application reviews and public hearings.
The ZBA did recommend the county board take up a six month moratorium on new wind farm developments while the land use committee's revision of the current ordinance continues.