DEWITT COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — A wind farm is on its way to northern DeWitt County after the board approved it last night. It is another step forward in a decade long back and forth between the developer and the county.
Last April, the DeWitt County Board denied a special use permit for a wind farm between Waynesville and Wapella. They said at the time the proposal was incomplete. This time around it passed 6 to 5, but the board had dozens of ammendments it wanted the developers to make based on ordinances in other counties.
“I gleaned the list of conditions that seemed to be common in all of them,” says board member Terry Ferguson. “I thought it would be remiss to even think about passing a special-use permit without all the protections that our neighboring counties have offered.”
The turbines are going to be up to 599 feet tall. Which is one of the big issues to those against it.
“Towers of that size come with a lot of problems,” says Andrea Rhoades. “Shadow flicker, noise, lots of issues with infrasound, and one of the biggest issues we have with it is it’s proximity to the national weather service radar in Lincoln.”
The development will be the closest wind farm to the radar. Turbines at that size can cause interference, which could be a big deal if storms form over the area. Even with the vote passing, people opposed to the turbines are still planning on being active.
‘We wanted the board to side with their constituants because they’ve clearly heard from the community that this is not a good fit for DeWitt County, but beyond the vote we have options,” says Rhoades. “We’re not out of the fight yet but we’re going to regroup and find out what’s next.”
Ferguson says they need to revise the special permit ordinance. They want to make it simpler in the future for other developers who may want to build wind farms in the county.