The DeWitt County Board spent a lengthy amount of time Thursday night during their virtual monthly meeting discussing wind farms.
A series of text amendment changes came up for approval dealing with issues from the lighting systems of the towers to issues surrounding drainage districts and flicker effect. Board Chair Terry Ferguson one of the text amendments deals with setback distances. Ferguson points out the issue died at the Zoning Board of Appeals and a recommendation from the State's Attorney concerned him in moving forward with it.
Buck Carter expressed his desire for the vote to move the amendment forward but Ferguson says the Regional Planning Commission could still be adjusted. Aaron Kammeyer pointed out the ZBA did not take it up due to a technicality.
The motion to approve the text amendment for setback distance was approved.
Shadow flicker studies on residential structures would be required for its impact over a calendar year and would be required for special use permits. Ferguson points out this would be new language to the ordinance.
Input from Kammeyer, Dan Matthews, and Meghan Myers suggested the Board move forward with this ordinance change because it is not ideal for DeWitt County but it is better than what is in place.
The shadow flicker study ordinance change was approved.
Much discussion went into an ordinance change regarding drainage districts. Ferguson, reading the agreement, indicates it touches on road agreements and upgrades for impacted roads along with impacted drainage districts. He points out it received a positive recommendation from the ZBA.
Ferguson's belief that drainage districts are a free-standing entity that has equal standing with the County townships and highway departments. He says this issue is very important because the current special use permit would crossover easements in DeWitt County drainage districts.
That understanding was met with resistance from State's Attorney Dan Markwell who indicates before construction, the wind farm, and the drainage districts have to agree before they receive their building permits. It is Markwell's contention the Board is giving veto power to an entity not even involved in the process.
Additionally, Markwell points out there comes a point in the process where drainage districts are impacted by the building permits, otherwise, they are unimpacted and have not rights being violated.
Ferguson argued getting the drainage district agreement ahead of time would be more economical for them. Markwell says no rights are being impacted to go to court get ratified.
Kammeyer questioned why this wouldn't be something that comes up during the special use permit application process because he believes it should be part of the process to protect the county have those drainage districts returned to the state they were before construction. Markwell contends this should not be a part of the special use permit process but rather the building permit process.
The passage of the ordinance change was again approved.
Thursday night, the County Board also made a series of appointments to the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Regional Planning Commission:
>>Monica De Grauwe, Kevin Myers, and Moe Winstead were all appointed to the Regional Planning Commission.
>>Robert Walters was appointed to the DeWitt County Board of Review.
Additionally, the County Board rejected participating in the Illinois Assist MCC Program. We'll have more on that next week on Regional Radio News.
Normally, DeWitt County Board Chair Terry Ferguson would join the WHOW Morning Show on Friday at 8:30 am, however, due to a medical procedure, Ferguson will be joining the show on Monday at 9 am.