McLean County Board mulls wind farm plan after unanimous zoning panel vote

McLean County Board Vice Chairman Jim Soeldner is pictured above. (Photo by Howard Packowitz/WJBC)


By Howard Packowitz

BLOOMINGTON – A proposed wind farm spread over five townships in northeastern McLean County is now in the hands of the county board.

The board’s vice chairman is leaning in favor of Invenergy’s plans for 100 turbines on 13,000 acres, which would produce enough electricity to power 69,000 homes.

Vice Chairman Jim Soeldner, a Republican from Ellsworth, plans to review testimony from eight nights of hearings. He said the zoning board of appeals’ unanimous vote for the wind farm sends a powerful message to the county board.

“Seven to nothing I think makes a big sign that at least they did meet all the standards,” said Soeldner.

“They’re deciding whether the standards are met. They say they are, and so that’s a big arguing point,” he added.

Soeldner doubts the county board’s vote will be unanimous because he expects some members to argue noise from the turbines will negatively impact quality of life.

Some rural residents concerned about noise left in tears after Tuesday night’s zoning board board.

“You’re weighing what’s good for the community as opposed to what some people don’t like,” Soeldner said.

“I think we all try to do what’s good for the county, and unfortunately some people aren’t happy with that,” Soeldner also said.

The county board is expected to take final action at its February 20 meeting.

Howard Packowitz can be reached at [email protected]


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