Protect private property from the inadequacy of the Morgan County Wind Farm Ordinance!
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Who, why, what is the problem with the Morgan County WECS Ordinance, and what's the solution?
Lets start with a brief history of the Morgan County Wind Energy Conversion System Ordinance (WECS) passed in 2009.
In 2008 Regional Planning Commission (RPC) Director Dusty Douglas used the Illinois Clean Energy Foundation (funded by Commonwealth Edison) "model wind ordinance" as the template for the Morgan County WECS ordinance. With the assistance of "Bill York, a representative with Global Winds Harvest, of Schenectady N.Y.," and the law firm McGuireWoods, the "model ordinance" was drafted and changed to be more "business-friendly" for the corporate developers.
Morgan County didn't have any "zoning" laws in 2008 thus, the Industrial Wind Turbine (IWT) corporations required Morgan County's "best in the world agricultural farmland" to be "zoned" as "industrial" to facilitate building up to 120 IWT's. The WECS Ordinance "zones" Morgan County for the developers who will use approximately 237 square miles of Morgan County farmland for this new Industrial Wind Manufacturing plant.
What is the problem with the WECS Ordnance?
While there are several, for now the greatest concerns are the WECS minimal "setbacks from homes, turbine height, and lack of environmental protections of the Lake Jacksonville, Lake Mauvaisterre, and Waverly Lake watersheds and endangered bats, birds, and snakes."
The current WECS Ordinance allows a 550 foot tall IWT to be "sited" only 1,000 feet from a non-participating homeowners foundation. (not the property line but the homes foundation) Experience and studies conducted by "certified appraisers" and realtors in other counties, villages, and states have shown that such irresponsible "setbacks" can result from total abandonment and complete loss of a homes value to the average of a 25-40% loss of a homes value in the "footprint" of an IWT. (Remember: the WECS ordinance was written in part by the developers to be "business-friendly" for the IWT corporations financial advantage, not to protect property owners and rural homeowners.)
2. Tower Height
IWT "height" and "setbacks" go hand in hand. The taller the IWT, the greater the "setback" distance needs to be to protect homeowners from the negative effects of "shadow flicker, stray voltage, electromagnetic interference, noise, sleep disturbance and other health issues associated with IWT's. Generally, the taller an IWT is, the larger the machine which can be placed on the tower. The larger the machine, the more noise and other negative health issues there are and the further the "catastrophic evacuation zone" requirement in the event of a turbine fire or "runaway." For the approximately 2 megawatt IWT's being proposed and at a height of 500 foot, the machines manufacturers recommend a 1,640 foot "catastrophic evacuation zone" in the event of a fire or runaway. The Morgan County WECS Ordinance will allow developers to place non-participating homes inside the IWT's evacuation zone. The current WECS height restriction is 550 feet however, RPC Director Dusty Douglas is proposing an unlimited height to make the WECS even more "business friendly."
After reviewing the 237 square mile proposed Industrial Wind Manufacturing "site plan" the Illinois Department of Natural Resources made several recommendations to the Morgan County Commissioners. Of concern were several endangered species in the Lake Mauvaisterre creek and watershed. The IDNR also recommended the WECS be amended to protect the Mauvaisterre watershed from erosion during the construction phase as massive amounts of soil will be disturbed resulting in damaging siltation of Mauvaisterre Creek and Lake Mauvaisterre. The City of Jacksonville has spent over 3 million dollars to dredge and reduce the siltation entering Lake Mauvaisterre and protect the city's water supply. Also at risk from erosion and siltation is Waverly Lake and Jacksonville Lake.
("Business- friendly" not environmentally friendly.)
What's the solution?
The Morgan County Commissioners and Regional Planning Commission (RPC) need to hear from the People they serve BEFORE zoning permits are issued. There is no reason a wind ordinance can't be "business friendly" and protect the Health, Life, Property, and Safety of the Citizens of Morgan County as well. Until reasonable setbacks, tower heights, the environment, and property values are protected by the WECS Ordinance we are demanding a moratorium be placed into effect on the accepting any IWT zoning permits. Here's what you can do:
1. Sign this petition which the "Ad Hoc Citizens Committee For Property Rights" will forward to the Morgan County Commissioners and RPC requesting a 6 month moratorium or until the WECS is amended.
2. Contact the Morgan County Commissioners and politely request a moratorium be placed on accepting applications for permits under the current the WECS ordinance. You can reach the County Commissioners by phone at (217) 245-4619 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
3. After signing this petition be sure and share it with your relatives, friends, and neighbors who live in Morgan County.
Ad Hoc Citizens Committee For Property Rights
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