Throughout the 7 months of Lee County’s hearings covering Mainstream Renewable Energy’s petition to construct approximately 53, 50-story-tall wind turbines within Hamilton and East Grove townships, numerous homeowners who live within the completed Shady Oaks and Big Sky wind projects presented insurmountable evidence that already existing wind turbines deprive them of the peaceful enjoyment and nuisance-free usage of their properties.
Following is a small sampling:
Kathryn and Kendall Guither farm 480-plus acres in Lee and Bureau counties. Forty-story Big Sky turbines are 1,400 feet, 1,700 feet, and 2,200 feet from their home’s foundation. They suffer from constant high-frequency noise, shadow flicker, ringing in their ears, and TV signal distortion. They are unable to sleep with windows open in spring, summer and fall.
Mr. Guither suffers nausea and vertigo when he works in his hay fields and must reschedule field work when shadow flicker is present. Guither’s neighbor abandoned their home because of severe health and sleep deprivation problems and cannot sell it.
Wes Englehart, a participating Shady Oaks landowner, testified that he suffers from shadow flicker and noise problems. He greatly regrets allowing turbines on his land.
All in all, a preponderance of heartfelt testimony and evidence of violations of property rights and well-being caused by wind turbines was heard from multiple Lee County residents. Please go to Lee County’s website, and under “zoning and planning office,” choose the hearing transcripts for Dec. 3, 2012, and Dec. 10, 2012, to fully read the sworn complaints of the above homeowners plus those of many others.
During cross-examinations, Mainstream’s attorney, Douglas Lee (Ehrmann, Gehlbach, Badger, Lee and Considine), made no attempt to refute or explain away their compelling testimonies. Yet, preposterously, Mr. Lee stated in his closing argument, “We believe the evidence shows that there will be little or no effect of the proposed special use on surrounding properties.”
Mainstream appears to believe that enriching its coffers and enabling generous county permitting fees and tax revenues makes it OK to violate the property rights and quality of life of Lee County families who live near its wind turbines.
Fortunately, Illinois zoning law demands a much higher standard. Illinois counties absolutely may not seek, embrace, approve, or establish revenue sources “so as to deprive the owner of any existing property of its use or maintenance for the purpose to which it is then lawfully devoted” (IL statute 55 ILCS 5/Div. 5-12).
Therefore, the above sworn testimonies, detailing turbine-induced damages that homeowners already suffer, shouldn’t leave any doubt in the minds of our zoning and county board members that, likewise, many Hamilton and East Grove township residents would suffer similar dire consequences if Mainstream’s wind turbines were approved and forced upon them.
One hundred ninety-one residents of these townships signed petitions stating that they don’t want the Green River Wind Farm. Please join them in urging zoning officials and county board members to vote with compassion and respect for their Hamilton and East Grove township neighbors and reject Mainstream’s petition, just as Bureau County has so wisely done.
Note to readers – Jim Timble is retired and continues to be chairman of the board of Headco Industries.