CLINTON, Ill. (WAND) - The DeWitt County Board has voted in favor of building a wind farm in the northwest part of the county.
Approval of a permit passed 6-5 in a Tuesday night meeting. Officials held the meeting to decide on the proposal at the square in downtown Clinton in order to meet social distancing requirements.
The plan from Tradewind Energy calls for up to 66 turbines to be built on the wind farm. None of the turbines can be higher than 599 feet tall.
The farm will be spread out on over 11,000 acres of land.
This is the board's second time voting on the idea of a wind farm after the first proposal, also from Tradewind, was presented in 2019. They said that application left them with too many questions.
The board passed multiple amendments to the special use permit, including:
- Failure to curtail operations of wind turbines during several weather events, such as tornadoes or thunderstorms, will mean a $5,000 fine per event and will apply to DeWitt and Logan counties. (Passed 6-5)
- At no time will the draft plan submitted by the wind company be considered the decommission plan for DeWitt County. The company must follow county ordinances for how turbines must be disposed of when they're no longer used. (Passed 6-5)
- The size of generators allowed without a new building permit can't be increased (Passed 6-5)
- Land owners who do not have a turbine on their property but have property adjacent to the project will be considered participants and will be given a monetary payment as a "good neighbor payment" to deal with shadow flicker (Passed 6-5)
- A sound study must be done for one year to determine impact on neighbors. (Passed 6-5)
There was only one person - the developer - on the agenda to speak in favor of the proposal. Nine people were listed to speak against it.
Tradewind Energy issued a statement after the vote Tuesday night:
“We greatly appreciate the time afforded to this project by the County Board during this incredibly challenging period. Alta Farms has enjoyed significant community support since it was initially proposed nearly 10 years ago, and we are excited to begin construction and put hundreds of local residents to work on what will be a first-rate wind farm that is an asset to the entire community. While we are proud of the project we will be building, we also know there are continued concerns from some, and promise to work in good faith toward a long-term mutually beneficial partnership with the entire community.”