Morgan Co. Board not accepting wind farm applications until ordinance is updated

By Blake Schnitker on October 9 at 12:33pm

Continued discussion over potential wind farms in eastern Morgan County highlighted this morning’s County Board meeting.

More than a dozen residents were in attendance as the Morgan County Board of Commissioners met for the first of their two monthly meetings this morning. While there were no specific items pertaining to the potential for wind farms in the eastern part of the county, a number of citizens showed up to express the various ideas and concerns they had with these wind turbines. The topic of potentially installing these wind farms has been discussed a number of times, for instance at last week’s informational meeting organized by the Ad Hoc Citizen’s Committee for Property Rights. Similar to what many folks from last week’s meeting brought up, a handful of residents in attendance at today’s meeting requested that a moratorium be placed on the County Board agenda for their next meeting.

As for the County’s position on the request for a moratorium, Chairman Bradley Zeller says the Board is doesn’t want to put a specific timeline in place at the current time.

“The County Board takes everything very seriously, but just to put a timeline on something and then we don’t get it done (by that time), we have to extend it. The County Board doesn’t like, at this current time, being put under that kind of time frame. We want to do it right, we want to do it on equal time, if we get it done or if it takes longer, that is our only goal. in essence, we are complying with what these individuals are saying, whether you write it down in resolution or whether I say it to you personally, it’s my belief that that’s the direction we’re taking,” says Zeller.

Though the County Board is not in favor of a moratorium, Zeller reiterates the Board’s stance that it will not accept any applications from wind companies until the county’s ordinance has been revised.

“Our first priority is to get this document amended and updated and hopefully make it a stronger document for the residents of rural Morgan County. That is our number one position right now and number one goal, and we have stated with that, that we will not accept an application until this process is done. The group is rightly concerned that, what if an application comes in? Well, the County Board does not have to accept an application. We want to get this document updated for the betterment of Morgan County. That is our goal right now.

Another concern brought forth by Mike Woodyard of the Ad Hoc Citizen’s Committee for Property Rights dealt with the county’s decommissioning policy in regards to the potential wind turbines. Decommissioning refers to the process of deactivating the operations of these turbines if it became necessary after installation. Zeller says the County Board plans to review the policies of other Illinois counties that contain wind farms, and that it’s the Board’s desire to have a very strong decommissioning policy.

Currently, there have been two wind companies that have expressed interest in applying for the installation of wind turbines in Morgan County, namely E.ON Wind Services and Apex Clean Energy.