Natural Land Institute recommends changes to County Wind Farm Ordinance
The following e-mails were forwarded to The Rock River TImes by the Natural Land Institute.
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 2009 10:15:19 -0400
Subject: Re: Wind ordinance
I’ve reviewed the proposed changes to the Commercial Wind Power Generating Facilities ordinance that you submitted to the Zoning Committee members last week, as well as the proposed additional regulations dealing with enforcement of the mitigation plan and NRI report. With one exception, I think that your proposed amendments are a workable solution to the need to assess and mitigate the impact of commercial wind turbines on wildlife, parks and preserves. I believe that the Us Fish and Wildlife service and the IDNR can determine what is needed in the wildlife assessment reports and mitigation plans and it is not necessary to spell out the requirements in the ordinance. Of course, these will change as more experience is gained and research is done on the effect of wind turbines on wildlife.
My concern is with the last sentence in the section on enforcement of mitigation plans. If this is going to be treated as a “Permitted Use” in agricultural areas, how can the County Board waive the mitigation recommendations of the County’s expert. I can see how this could happen if this was a Special Use Permit, but it is my understanding that the County Board does not review Permitted Uses. If mitigation is to be done as a Permitted Use, the waiver provision should be dropped from the regulation. It would be okay as a condition as a Special Use to allow waivers.
Thank you for taking our concerns into consideration as you and your staff developed your recommendations for the ordinance. I appreciate the opportunity to have our recommendations heard.
Natural Land Institute
DATE: September 23, 2009
TO: Zoning Committee Members
FROM: County Staff
RE: Commercial Wind Power Generating Facilities (WPGF)
The Zoning Committee may wish to amend the proposed WPGF ordinance to include the
following bolded additional regulations (rather than those listed in the Memo date Sept. 15,
updated Sept 16, 2009) to Section 90-355. G. The additional regulations are being proposed in
part due to a prior amendment made to Section 90-354 by the Zoning Committee.
G. Wildlife/Avian Survey and Mitigation Plan
Applicant shall commission and submit to the Planning and Zoning Officer at time of permit
application a wildlife assessment, conducted by a qualified wildlife expert having no less than ten (10)
years of experience conducting wildlife assessments (impact studies) and mitigation plans, indicating
possible risks to local wildlife, habitant, and migratory birds. Applicant’s wildlife expert shall develop
and submit to the Planning and Zoning Officer at time of permit application a mitigation plan based
upon such assessment, if applicable. deemed necessary by the wildlife expert. Applicant shall mitigate
such risks on wildlife, migratory birds and affiliated habitat per the Applicant’s and/or the County’s
wildlife expert’s recommendations as detailed in the paragraph below. and shall submit said plan to the
Planning and Zoning Officer at time of permit application.
The County may hire and select a qualified wildlife expert having no less that than ten (10) years
experience conducting wildlife assessments (impact studies) and mitigation plans to review the
wildlife assessment (impact study) and mitigation plan submitted by the Applicant. All costs
associated with the wildlife expert hired and selected by the County shall be paid for by the
Applicant. Should it be found by the County’s wildlife expert that the assessment (impact study) is
deficient, such deficiency shall be addressed by the Applicant’s wildlife expert to the satisfaction of
the County’s wildlife expert. Moreover, should the County’s wildlife expert find that the mitigation
plan (or the lack of a migration plan) by Applicant’s wildlife expert not to be acceptable, then the
Applicant shall mitigate the wildlife concern(s) in accordance to the recommendations of County’s
wildlife expert. Mitigation plan (including recommendation(s)) shall be subject to the same
enforcement powers of the regulations listed herein under this article, unless recommendation(s)
is waived in part or full by the County Board.
The Applicant shall further address/mitigate any concerns, if listed, within the NRI
Report to the satisfaction of the Winnebago County Soil and Water District
(WCSWCD). Any concerns listed within the NRI Report that cannot be adequately
addressed by the above noted wildlife expert shall then be addressed by another
qualified expert (i.e. a professional engineer licensed in the State of Illinois, etc.). The
Applicant shall provide proof from the WCSWCD to the Planning and Zoning Officer
that their concern(s) has been addressed/mitigated and/or that the WCSWCD has no
concerns listed within the NRI Report that need to be addressed / mitigated, thereby
fulfilling this requirement. In the event the Applicant and the WCSWCD cannot agree
on how to resolve the WCSWCD’s concern(s) and/or cannot obtain and submit the
above said proof from the WCSWCD to the Planning and Zoning Officer, then said
concern(s) and/or the submittal of said proof can be waived in part or full by the County
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