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Consider all the issues, then approve petition

Mainstream official touts the benefits

Published: Monday, May 20, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT
Matt Boss, Evanston

I am writing in response to Steve Robery’s letter last Saturday about the Green River wind farm vote.

Mr. Robery states, “When you look at all the issues, the only reasonable conclusion is to deny the petition.” However, his letter fails to consider all the issues, so his conclusion is anything but reasonable, in my view.

What was left out of Mr. Robery’s letter that might lead the reader to a different conclusion?

Well, how about the fact that the Zoning Board found, by a 4-1 majority, that the wind farm petition is in compliance with the Lee County ordinance?

Or that the Green River proposal includes a much larger setback from homes than any other project in Lee County?

Or even that Green River is offering good neighbor payments of $1,000 a year to all nonparticipating homes within half a mile of a turbine?

These points didn’t make it into Mr. Robery’s article.

The Mainstream team has been fully engaged with the process in Lee County since late 2010 when the review of the ordinance first began.

We waited for the completion of that process before submitting our petition, and as a result, the Green River proposal reflects the vast majority of the recommendations made by the Zoning Board at the time, including the need for a decommissioning plan to be approved prior to building permits being issued.

Mr. Robery is right to note that the Zoning Board vote “was only 3-2 to deny the petition,” but he omits to mention that at least one of the Zoning Board members specifically stated that he did not take the economic benefit of the project into account in his decision.

While it can be argued whether economics should or should not form part of a Zoning Board decision, the County Board simply cannot afford to ignore it.

The Green River wind farm, as proposed, would bring more than $1 million a year in property taxes in Lee County. How can the County Board ignore that as members weigh their decision?

The Green River wind farm offers more protection to local residents than any previous Lee County wind farm.

It offers more sharing of economic benefits among the community.

It will swell the coffers of the county’s property taxing districts.

And, it is in compliance with the Lee County ordinance.

In my view, when you really look at all of the issues, the only reasonable conclusion is to approve the petition.

Note to readers – Matt Boss is vice president of development and operations for Mainstream Renewable Power, Chicago.

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