Ford County vote will establish wind's position

Ford County vote will establish wind's position

PAXTON — The Ford County Board's zoning committee has called a meeting for this week to finalize proposed changes to the county's ordinance regulating wind farms.

Committee Chairman Dave Hastings has scheduled the public meeting for 10 a.m. Tuesday at the courthouse in Paxton.

Matt Rock, the county's zoning enforcement officer, said the committee is expected to review the proposed changes and vote on them during the meeting.

Among proposed changes are those related to wind-turbine setbacks. Hastings said during the committee's last meeting that the 1,500-foot setback the group is recommending as a minimum distance between turbines and structures was arrived at as a "compromise."

He noted that although some residents feel 1,500 feet is too close, the companies wanting to build wind farms in Ford County think that setbacks much greater than that would make the construction of a wind farm burdensome or even impossible.

Hastings noted that the committee does not want the setbacks to be too restrictive for wind farms to be built in the county because such projects are needed to help boost the county's property tax base.

County board member Tom McQuinn of rural Paxton noted that not all committee members or board members agree with the proposed 1,500-foot setback. McQuinn believes 1,500 feet is "too close."

If the committee approves the proposed changes, the ordinance would advance to the zoning board of appeals and planning commission, and those two panels would then vote on whether to concur with the recommended changes before the full county board would take its own vote to approve the revised ordinance.

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