Wind turbine ordinance going on display in Vermilion County

Wind turbine ordinance going on display in Vermilion County

DANVILLE – After the newly elected members were sworn in and Jim McMahon was re-elected chairman Monday night, the Vermilion County board voted Monday night to put a proposed wind turbine ordinance on display for public review and comment.

The Wind Energy Structure Ordinance would establish a process in which local officials would grant permits for the placement and construction of energy-generating turbines.

Several developers of wind turbine farms are considering building in various sections of the county but want standard yet specific requirements for placement and construction of turbines to be spelled out prior to development of the farms.

As proposed, the wind energy ordinance would create a committee, comprising the county highway engineer, a representative of the county health department, two members of the community and the state's attorney or an assistant state's attorney chosen by the state's attorney.

The group would not be paid for its work and would meet on a regular basis to review applications for placement and construction of wind turbines. On a case-by-case basis, the committee would recommend or not recommend that the county board grant building permits for the turbines. All permits would then have to be approved by the full board.

Board member Bill Donahue, D-District 7, has worked with local economic development officials to draft an ordinance that not only serves the needs of the wind farm developers by defining what's expected of them, but also protects the rights of the county and the public.

Donahue said the developers want to see an ordinance that's tightly written, so a project will be accepted if it meets all the technical requirements and not rejected for frivolous reasons.

Russ Pollitt, R-District 6, asked if the projects would cost the county monetarily, to which Donahue answered no, except for the time expended by members of the review committee.

Donahue added that the ordinance contains language addressing the developers' responsibility if the projects cause damage to county roads or highways.

The proposed ordinance will be on public display at the county board offices, 6 N. Vermilion St., Danville, until Jan. 20, when the board meets again and will consider the ordinance for final approval.

Monday night's meeting marked the beginning of the county's new fiscal year. Board members who were elected and re-elected Nov. 4 approved McMahon, D- District 9, who has been chairman the past two years, to serve two more years in that capacity.