The DeWitt County Board will vote tonight on the special use permit application for the Tradewind Energy Alta Farms II wind project in northwest DeWitt County.
Last year, the application failed to get enough support to pass and Tradewind was sent back to the drawing board. This application has been surrounded by controversy in the County's zoning off to hearings at the Regional Planning Commission level being delayed in the fall to the Zoning Board of Appeals hearings being extended a week because of the volume of comments from the public and of course the latest hurdle in working around a pandemic to get the issue voted on.
The vote, originally scheduled for mid-March was put on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak shutdown but Development Director for the project, Tom Swierczewski says this evening's meeting is going to be one for the books.
Opponents of the project have voiced their concerns over the virtual format for this meeting. Andrea Rhoades leads the group Residents Against Wind Farms in DeWitt County and says not much has changed in this application from the one voted down last spring.
While some of the circumstances surrounding the process of getting to this vote have been frustrating, Swierczewski realizes a lot of it is out of the control of everyone involved.
Rhoades believes Tradewind in this application is asking for several conditions, which she says they are trying to sneak these in to make adjustments that will have long term impacts on residents near non-participating landowners.
Each side will be allowed to make their final presentations to the County Board, though no new evidence can be presented. Swierczewski believes all testimony has been presented and looks forward to getting to the vote.
Each side will be allowed 15 minutes to speak in what County leaders have encouraged as a coordinated effort of each side to plan their speakers. According to Rhoades, 15 minutes is not enough time to make their final cases, especially because not all board members attended all the ZBA hearings in January.
Swierczewski says the time is now for DeWitt County and calls their project first rate. He believes it meets if not exceeds all the County's ordinances and looks forward to a positive outcome for the project and getting construction started.
Tonight's meeting is at 6 pm. The meeting will be carried live on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW and all the WHOW online platforms including the WHOW mobile and Amazon Alexa.
Get full coverage of the meeting following the vote by the County Board at dewittdailynews.com and on Regional Radio News.