Tazewell County residents propose changes to wind energy ordinance

Image courtesy of MGN.
Image courtesy of MGN.(MGN)
Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 10:42 PM CDT
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TAZEWELL COUNTY (25 News Now) - Wind energy farms are looking to build more turbines in Tazewell County, but some people oppose the idea unless several changes are made to the county’s wind energy ordinance.

“The current ordinance is inadequate and not up to date with today’s standards. None of this, that we are proposing, would ensure that wind projects are not built in this county,” said attorney Phillip Luetkehans, who is representing the United Citizens of Tazewell County, LLC.

The group claims wind turbines, if not installed and maintained the way they suggest, will negatively impact the well-being of the county and its residents.

“The last thing we want to see happen to our property values is to drop five, 10 or 20 percent ... To lose that value is really a kick in the shins,” Luetkehans said.

Tazewell County currently only has one wind farm - Rail Splitter - which extends into Logan County.

Energy companies like EDP Renewables, which represented the objector want to add to that number.

“We urge the Zoning Board of Appeals to reject the proposed ordinance in its entirety, and instead consider the current ordinance, or amendments that would bring Tazewell County’s ordinance up-to-date and in line with other counties,” attorney Amy Antoniolli said.

Luetkehans started by proposing a six-month moratorium that would make sure no new wind energy deals happen until changes are made to the ordinance.

Both parties will keep the discussion going through at least Thursday, with help from public comment. County leaders say they don’t know how long it could take to reach a conclusion.

“We want to help and do our best as a county to protect everyone, but also protect everyone’s rights to do what they want with their own property, too,” Community Development Administrator Jaclynn Workman said.

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