Wind energy company bypasses Deer Grove

Mainstream won’t seek village’s OK

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ROCK FALLS – Deer Grove’s village board believes it can regulate wind turbines within 1.5 miles of its boundaries.

But a wind energy company disagrees. It is planning two of its nine turbines within the 1.5-mile area, and it’s not seeking the village’s approval.

On Wednesday, the Whiteside County Planning and Zoning Commission continued its ongoing hearing for Ireland-based Mainstream Renewable Power’s proposal to build nine turbines in the far southeastern part of the county.

More than 80 people attended Wednesday’s session, including 17 of the 27 County Board members, who will make the final decision.

Late last year, Deer Grove, population 48, passed a zoning ordinance, which officials said was legally required before the village could regulate activities in the 1.5-mile area.

During Wednesday’s testimony, John Martin, Mainstream’s project manager, said the village’s zoning ordinance didn’t meet the “regulatory requirements” to keep out turbines. He didn’t provide details.

He also said he wanted to give Deer Grove board members information that would show how the turbines wouldn’t be a problem.

Bob Logan, who helped the village draft the zoning rules, maintained Deer Grove had the power to regulate.

He said Mainstream, which also is planning turbines in Lee and Bureau counties, needs to get the approval of the Deer Grove village board, not the Whiteside County Board, for the two nearby turbines.

During Wednesday’s session, both those for and against the wind farm spoke. One of the supporters, Earl Coers, acknowledged the two nearby turbines would be on his land.

He said the wind farm will benefit area taxpayers because of the thousands in tax revenue it would provide government entities. That could lower others’ taxes, he said.

“Windmills don’t put out radiation, and they don’t hurt the environment,” he said.

The commission will resume its hearing May 2.

To attend

The Whiteside County Planning and Zoning Commission meets at       7 p.m. May 2 at the Rock Falls Community Building, 601 W. 10th St.

The commission will hear testimony on Mainstream Renewable Power's planned wind farm.

Call Whiteside County's zoning office at 815-772-5175 for more information.