CLINTON — The DeWitt County Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled to hear testimony in July about a pair of special use permit requests connected to the possible construction of wind towers in the county.
If recommended, the special use permits would allow Tower Associates, in agreement with two land owners, to erect meteorological testing towers for the purpose of gathering atmospheric data. This is one of the early steps in determining the suitablility of a site as a location for wind towers.
The properites under consideration are located in Rutledge and Wilson Townships, in northeast DeWitt County. An active wind farm lies north of the area in McLean County near the LeRoy area.
In the early 2000s, a Kansas-based wind energy company erected meteorologial testing towers in a nearby location north of Wapella.
Zoning hearings for both special use requests are scheduled for July 3 at 7 p.m. in the conference room of the DeWitt County Building.
Meanwhile, wind towers continue to go up in northwest Macon County, some within approximately 150-200 yards of the southern DeWitt County line. The process for that project began in 2015 with hearings in Macon County.
County board land use committee chairman Sue Whitted and zoning administrator Angie Sarver attended some of those hearings. The same firm, E.ON, involved with the Macon County project were also proposing towers in DeWitt County.
Sarver reported in an Aug. 2015 land use committee meeting that more towers were proposed for Macon County than were planned for DeWitt County. She said 149 were proposed for Macon County versus about 18 for a portion of southern DeWitt County.
E.ON must apply to counties for a special use permits.
Former zoning administrator Mike Bradford had reported that some county’s had updated their wind farm ordinances in expectation of E.ON’s special use applications.
Bradford also cited concerns by counties over the decibel levels of towers and reported some had incorporated noise restrictions into their ordinances.
Under DeWitt County ordinance, a tower may not be located within 1,500 feet of a non-participating residence and the noise from a tower may not exceed 50 db (decibels). Some counties have enacted ordinances restricting noise levels to 35 db.