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County board says no to moratorium

PRINCETON — The Bureau County Board will not place a temporary moratorium or a “time out” on future wind farm developments in the county.

At Thursday’s meeting, the board voted against a proposed moratorium or “time out” on future wind farm development, with a 7 yes, 17 no vote. Instead, the board voted unanimously to direct the Zoning Committee to work quickly on amending the existing zoning ordinance concerning wind farms.

The board also approved spending up to $40,000 for Zoning Officer Kris Donarski to hire additional part-time help to assist with the necessary research and work going into the development and preparation of the text amendments. Among the issues to be addressed are noise levels, shadow flickering, setbacks, road agreements and decommissioning plans.

In bringing up the moratorium issue for discussion, Zoning Committee Chairman Marsha Lilley said a “time out” would give the county needed time to update its existing ordinances. The “time out” would not affect any current projects.

Board member Loretta Volker made the motion to start the process toward a temporary moratorium or “time-out” of future wind farm activity, which would suspend the acceptance of conditional use permit applications for wind farms until Nov. 30. Volker’s motion was seconded by Marc Wilt.

Voting against the moratorium process or suspension were Steve Sondgeroth, Rob Pozzi, Dan Rabe, Kristi Warren, Robert Albrecht, Ralph Anderson, John Baracani, Joe Bassetti, Joe Bertetto, Tom Dobrich, Jim Donarski, Deb Feeney, Tom Giordano, Mike Kohr, Mary Jane Marini, Mike Maynard, and Bob McCook.

Voting in favor of the suspension were Volker, Wilt, Jim Thompson, Marshann Entwhistle, Gary Forristall, Marsha Lilley and Dale Anderson.

Prior to the vote, Sondgeroth said he thought updating the county’s zoning ordinances could be done without a moratorium.

Bassetti agreed, saying the zoning committee could start work on the text amendments during its next meetings.

Though a moratorium or time-out was not needed in order to work on the zoning ordinance, Zoning Officer Kris Donarski said the county board would have to accept conditional use permits applications under the existing ordinances until the new ordinances are in place. The text amendment process could take several months, she said.

Absent from Thursday’s meeting were Mark Pierson and Laura Rose.

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