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‘Vote with compassion, respect’

Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 3:41 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 3:43 p.m. CDT

Throughout the seven months of Lee County’s hearings covering Mainstream Renewable Energy’s petition to construct approximately 53, 50-story tall, wind turbines within Hamilton and East Grove townships, numerous homeowners residing within the completed Shady Oaks and Big Sky wind projects presented insurmountable evidence/documentation that already existing wind turbines are depriving them of the peaceful enjoyment and nuisance-free usage of their properties. Following is a small sampling:

Kathryn and Kendall Guither farm 480-plus acres in Lee/Bureau Counties. Forty-story Big Sky turbines are located 1,400, 1,700 and 2,200 feet from their home’s foundation. They suffer from constant high frequency noise, inside/outside shadow flicker, ringing in their ears, TV signal distortion and picture loss. They are unable to sleep with windows open in spring, summer and fall.

Mr. Guither suffers nausea and vertigo when he works in his hay fields and must reschedule field work when shadow flicker is present.

Guithers’ neighbor has abandoned their home due to severe wind turbine-driven health/sleep deprivation problems and has been unable to sell it.

Wes Englehart, a “participating” Shady Oaks landowner, testified he suffers from shadow flicker and noise problems. He greatly regrets allowing turbines on his land.

All in all, a preponderance of heartfelt testimony and evidence of “wind turbine caused” property rights/well-being violations was heard from multiple Lee County residents.

During cross examinations, Mainstream’s attorney, Douglas Lee (Ehrmann/Gehlbach/Badger/Lee & Considine), made no attempt to refute or “explain away” their compelling testimonies. Yet, preposterously, Mr. Lee stated in his closing argument: “We believe the evidence shows that there will be little or no effect of the proposed special use on surrounding properties!”

Mainstream appears to believe that enriching its coffers and enabling generous county permitting fees/tax revenues makes it OK to violate the property rights/quality of life of Lee County families who live in close proximity to its wind turbines.

Fortunately, Illinois zoning law demands a much higher standard. Illinois counties absolutely may not seek/embrace/approve/establish revenue sources “so as to deprive the owner of any existing property of its use or maintenance for the purpose to which it is then lawfully devoted” (IL statute 55 ILCS 5/Div. 5-12).

Therefore, the above sworn testimonies, detailing turbine-induced damages Lee County homeowners are already suffering, shouldn’t leave any doubt in the minds of our zoning and county board members, that likewise, many Hamilton/East Grove township residents would suffer similar dire consequences, if Mainstream’s 53,500-foot-tall, wind turbines were approved and forced upon them.

One hundred and ninety-one residents of these townships have signed petitions stating they don’t want the Green River Wind Farm. Please join them in urging Lee County zoning officials and county board members to vote with compassion and respect for their Hamilton Township/East Grove neighbors and reject Mainstream’s petition, just as Bureau County has so wisely done.

Jim Timble

Franklin Grove

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