County approves Tradewind permit

Gordon Woods / Journal — About 200-250 people, many wearing masks as advised during the COVID-19 pandemic, attended an outdoor county board meeting held on Mr. Lincoln’s Square Tuesday night. The board voted 6-5 to approve a special use permit application for Tradewind Energy/

A series of proposed conditions to the agreement mostly fail; same issues continue to concern opponents

CLINTON — The absence of one board member Tuesday shifted what might have been a rejection of the Tradewind Energy wind farm permit to a vote that approved the permit.  This now gives Tradewind the authority to begin construction on the project slated for northwest DeWitt County.

Following about 30 minutes of public comment during Tuesday’s outdoor county board meeting on Mr. Lincoln’s Square, board member Terry Ferguson moved to have the issue tabled.  He based his motion on the conclusion of the county’s former zoning administrator that the Tradewind special use permit application was incomplete.

The board rejected Ferguson’s motion.  Ferguson then began a process to propose over a dozen modifications and conditions to the language in Tradewind’s application agreement.

Some discussion arose about whether Tradewind should be required to submit a full plan to decommission the project before the granting of the special use permit or at the time the building permit is issued.

DeWitt County State’s Attorney Dan Markwell said the board had debated the issue in the past and amended that portion of the ordinance.  The ordinance lists all of the elements required in a decommissioning plan, including cost of decommissioning and how those funds will be handled and an engineering report from a “mutually agreed upon,” licensed engineer, among other items.

Markwell read to board members the entire portion of the ordinance. 

“Alta Farms (Tradewind) shall enter a decommissioning agreement with the county prior to the issuance of the first building permit for a wind turbine.  The decommissioning agreement shall be consistent with the DeWitt County code of ordinances and the agricultural integrity mitigation agreement,” Markwell read.

Ferguson asked him to re-read the first sentence in the portion of the ordinance.

• See the complete story in the Friday, July 17 print edition of the Clinton Journal or right now on the Journal E-Edition for subscribers.

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