Apex Application in Draft, Headed For Likely Public Hearing in April

By Benjamin Cox on February 25, 2020 at 9:55am

A draft plot of some of the FAA-requested turbine locations near Rees Station using Google Maps. (Map Courtesy of Morgan County Wind Watch)

Dusty Douglas, the Morgan County Regional Planning Director, will be coming through a 25 pound draft of Apex Clean Energy’s application for the Lincoln Land Wind Project over the next week. Douglas told the Morgan County Commissioners the zoning board had received the draft application last week and has been going through the process of reading the application. “It’s a pretty large document of about 4 binders in paper form. I’m going through that right now, trying to deem its completeness for the county board. It’s part of our responsibilities to let them know when we feel the application is complete and we’re not there yet. It’s moving forward.”

Douglas says that residents will probably be most interested in the map section, midway through the first binder of the document once it’s placed online. “Probably by the end of the week, we will have the entire document out on our website. It’s pretty large and tough to go through. It passes the weight test at about 25 pounds, so it will just be easier to get it all out on the Internet and let people take a look at it; particularly the summaries and the maps.”

The document will be posted to morgancounty-il.com similar in fashion to the draft wind ordinance procedure. One of the comments during Douglas’ committee report on the application requested that the commissioners ask for an assessment report from the county assessor’s office on the land values in the project’s footprint prior to the placement of the wind turbines, asking the commissioners to weigh the cost-benefit of the turbines on home values. Douglas says it’s something that the commissioners will have to make a decision about down the road when it comes to permit costs or other contingency actions. “I can’t really give my opinion. I think that’s a county board issue and that’s something they will have to consider. I would say there is a large part of the application devoted to market value studies. There certainly will be some people who don’t agree with that part of the application, but that’s a board decision that will have to be considered.”

Douglas says that landowners within the contiguous footprint will get the opportunity of a public hearing. According to the Morgan County wind ordinance, those within the parameters will receive a letter in the postal mail. “Basically, everyone who has something on their property or contiguous to a property that has something located on it will receive notice when we get ready for the public hearing. There will be some holes in the footprint of the project for people who’s properties that will not receive a letter. It’s a 30-day notice so there won’t be any real drama there. There will be plenty of time to know about the hearing. We will have a nighttime public hearing to go through the full process.”

For now, Douglas says he will be using the Morgan County wind ordinance as a checklist to go through the entirety of the document. He says that he believes that the public hearing may come sometime in April.