CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) – Wind farms are on the agenda for a zoning appeals board meeting Thursday night, but it might not be what you think.
County leaders said it’s just to amend the ordinance they already have that allows wind farms to be built here. They said any talk of a wind farm physically coming to the county right now is a rumor.
Wind farms are scattered across the state. Using renewable energy, the wind, to power homes and businesses.
12 years ago, Champaign County passed an ordinance to allow wind farms to be built there. So far, that hasn’t happened.
“I know in the past there have been some attempts to do wind farms in Champaign County that failed to have enough leases, and so they never materialized,” John Hall, Director of the Planning and Zoning Department, said.
That means wind farm developers couldn’t get enough county land owners to agree to have a turbine on their property. The first step in making a wind farm happen.
John Hall is the director of the planning and zoning department. He said he’s been hearing rumblings of a developer working to get those signatures again.
“We also know there’s rumors of impending wind farm developments. We haven’t received any applications. I haven’t even received specific inquiries from wind farm developers, but I know they’re out there signing up leases,” he said.
Nothing official has come across his desk. Hall said the environment and land-use committee has asked them to update the ordinance already in place to keep up with changes.
Like the maximum height for a turbine, a requirement for aircraft detection lighting systems, compliance for agriculture impacts mitigation statements, and a change in fees.
Hall said he wants to make it clear, there is nothing official about a wind farm coming to Champaign County.
“Just to reaffirm we have no pending wind farm applications, and you know we’re just dealing with making sure we update our ordinance to be the best possible,” he said.
Hall said he’s heard a wind farm developer is gathering signatures of landowners to allow turbines on their property. He said that’s coming from the southeastern part of the county.
But again, there has been no official application to the county or even inquiry to bring one here. He said when and if that happens, people will be notified, and it will be a long process before any ground is broken.