NORMAL — Representatives of a company hoping to build a wind farm in northern McLean County laid out their case Tuesday in a presentation to the McLean County Zoning Board of Appeals.
Invenergy will make several other appearances, however, before the ZBA makes a recommendation on the proposal to the County Board. The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Astroth Community Education Center at Heartland Community College in Normal.
Additional dates were not yet available.
The Chicago-based company plans to construct about 100 turbines in Chenoa, Gridley, Lawndale, Lexington and Money Creek townships. Officials estimate it would bring in approximately $2.3 million a year in new taxes in McLean County.
The company is applying for a special-use permit to allow turbines up to 500 feet in height. Kevin Parzyck, a vice president for Invenergy, said they would like to start construction in 2018 or 2019 and be operational before 2020.
Parzyck said the turbines would be near the towns of Gridley, Lexington and Chenoa.
"We have been in discussion with all three and are moving forward with getting their approval," he said.
"This is some of the best wind in Illinois and therefore is a valuable commodity for McLean County," he added.
About 150 people attended the meeting at the Astroth center.
"I just need some more information, but I don't think I like this," said John West of rural Gridley. "I think our countryside is filling up with too many of these farms."
Glenn Schwass of rural Lexington said he was concerned about property values.
"We believe there is no impact to property values but have no means to guarantee that," Parzyck said.
In other business, the ZBA forwarded to the County Board a recommendation in favor of Brandt Group of Companies' request to rezone four adjacent properties at the former Kongskilde Industries plant north of Normal from agriculture to manufacturing.
The change met all of the standards of McLean County's comprehensive plan, said Phil Dick, director of building and zoning for McLean County.
If approved by the county board on Jan. 16, Brandt will add about 25 acres of manufacturing land to the 20-acre plant site.