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Local

Final wind ordinance vote expected during DeKalb County Board meeting Wed.

Meeting to include hearing officer, board members' recommendations

Note to readers: This most recent web version of the story reflects that Concerned Citizens for DeKalb County collected signatures for a petition in support of the DeKalb County Planning and Zoning Committee's original drafted ordinance. A previous version of the story said the petition was to not permit wind towers at all.

SYCAMORE – DeKalb County Board members anticipate the approval of a final wind ordinance during their meeting Wednesday.

The consideration comes after the county's Planning and Zoning Committee unanimously voted to advance the ordinance to the County Board with the recommendation of approval submitted by county hearing officer Dale Clark. Board members said the hearing officer's recommendations were vague at best but agreed the best decision is to move the ordinance forward after more than a year of discussion.

DeKalb County Board Chairman Mark Pietrowski Jr. said the board will consider each amendment individually, whether they were always part of the ordinance or board members have any suggested additions, and then vote on the whole ordinance in one vote. As a result, the final product might look different than previous versions, he said.

Pietrowski said the board still is focused on finding a good balance between property owner rights and neighbor rights.

"We were trying to come up with something that we thought was a fair ordinance," Pietrowski said.

Concerned Citizens for DeKalb County, the coalition of residents that formed after developer EDF Renewable Energy announced its wind farm plans, collected 751 signatures, mostly from DeKalb County, in support of the planning and zoning commission's original drafted ordinance presented at the Sept. 24 public hearing.

Steve Faivre, County Board member and chairman for the Planning and Zoning Committee, said only one board member, Dan Cribben, has submitted additional proposed amendments, which include eliminating tower height restrictions, adjusting setback distances by tower height and determining which setbacks could be subjected to a waiver.

Faivre said he has no idea what the vote is going to come down to, but he hopes people also look at maps to see how proposed setbacks from nonparticipating neighbors, forest preserves and municipalities might affect wind energy development.

"It pretty significantly constricts the areas [developers] could put up wind towers without having to get variances," Faivre said.

The board will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the DeKalb County Farm Bureau Auditorium, 1350 W. Prairie Drive.

Pietrowski said he still encourages residents to reach out to their board members ahead of the meeting, since the opportunity for public comment passed after public hearings for the ordinance were held in September.

Faivre said these things never are easy or simple, and the ideal scenario is to get to a place where everyone is happy with the ordinance. But, he said, he's being realistic about how people might receive the talks and the board's vote.

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