This past Monday night, the DeWitt County Zoning Board of Appeals took up text amendment changes to the County's wind ordinances and the company hoping to establish a wind farm in DeWitt County is questioning why this is happening without direction from County leadership.
The ZBA took up six ordinances changes and Tom Swierczewski, project development manager for Tradewind Energy, says he and the supporters of their project were surprised at this development in recent days.
The ZBA considered six text amendments in total and Swierczewski says a setback change wasn't even taken up for a vote. He feels it shows how ridiculous of a proposal it was and is thankful it failed.
According to Swierczewski, the ZBA also considered a shadow flicker ordinance change that would ask for zero impact on neighboring landowners. He says that is a mandate that is nearly impossible to meet.
Swierczewski calls a text amendment change regarding drainage district coordination unnecessary. He explains they already coordinate with those districts and have to get their approval before they move any dirt. He also calls discussion surrounding a detection lighting system change confusing.
As these approved changes now move on to the County Board, Swierczewski is critical of the actions of the Regional Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals because he believes they are acting without guidance and direction from elected officials.
Chairperson of the RPC, Dave Steward defended his Board's actions on taking up the reconsidering of the text amendment changes. He explains after sitting in on many of the testimonies from the last hearings for the Tradewind Alta Farms II wind farm application at the ZBA level, he felt it was necessary to have a look at their ordinances.
Steward says the RPC revisiting any ordinances on any subject without direction from County leadership is not out of the ordinary. While it is common to get direction from the County Board or its Land Use Committee, the RPC is within its authority to look at these ordinances on their own accord.
According to Steward, the accusations of stonewalling this process is inaccurate and points out this is the exact same time schedule they've taken on other issues in the past. While he understands the urgency with which Tradewind Energy wants their application taken up, the RPC cannot make everyone happy.
The Zoning Board of Appeals made it clear to Tradewind representatives the changes proposed would not impact their application that is currently being considered but Swierczewski says it would make any efforts to bring another project to the County very problematic.