The Piatt County board last week approved changes in its large Wind Energy Conversion ordinance, endorsing zoning board of appeals recommendations when it comes to setbacks.

Setbacks are now 1.3 times the tower tip height to the nearest primary structure, or 1,600 feet, whichever is greater. The same ratio was approved for setbacks from towers to adjacent property lines, or 1,000 feet, whichever is greater.

The approval increases the setback ratio from 1.1 to 1.3 times the tower tip height, but keeps it well under a ratio of 3.75 that had been considered at times over the past year.

I’d like to really thank the county board, the zoning board as well as the county staff for their work and leadership on the WEC ordinance and amendment review process,” said Alan Moore of Apex Clean Energy, which has announced plans for a wind development in northern Piatt County.

I’d also like to thank the three outgoing board members for their leadership and service of Piatt County over the last number of years, and also congratulate the incoming county board members. We’re excited to continue our work towards a safe and sustainable renewable energy project in Piatt County,” he added.

The Nov. 11 session was the last regular county board meeting for Dale Lattz, Renee Fruendt and Bob Murrell. They will be replaced by Jerry Edwards, Gail Jones and Todd Henricks.

Murrell was the only “no” vote in regards to the wind turbine setback change, saying he is against wind farms in general for the county.

I’m still totally opposed to wind farms coming into Piatt County and taking up A-1 farmland, so every time something comes up, I will vote ‘no’ to protect the farmland,” said Murrell.

The zoning board is taking on WEC text amendments in chunks. With setbacks complete, next up are possible sound/noise changes, which will be discussed at this Thursday’s (Nov. 19) Zoning Board of Appeals meeting, which begins at 1 p.m. It will be held in the county courthouse, but will also be available remotely via Zoom.

County Board Chairman Ray Spencer thanked the ZBA for its work.

I appreciate the work of the ZBA. They’re doing the heavy lifting on this,” he said.

County board member Randy Shumard agreed.

I’m confident that the zoning board has thoroughly researched this,” commented Shumard.

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