MONTICELLO – Piatt County Council has imposed a moratorium on permitting wind energy systems until August 1.
The board voted 4-2 last Wednesday to put the moratorium in effect until August 1.
Apex Clean Energy is proposing a 300 megawatt project that would include around 60 turbines. Apex officials expect to file the special use permit in the summer or fall.
The county first imposed a six-month moratorium on wind farm permits in March 2020, which was extended for another six months when it expired in September 2020.
County officials said the move was necessary because State’s Attorney Sarah Perry is working on new wording for a proposed amendment to protect the interests of drainage districts during park construction. wind.
The board asked Perry to rewrite the amendment in April.
“I’m not done with this,” she told the board last week. “We had a meeting and it was productive. I have concerns about the prescription. I think it’s vague. The drainage district officials have valid concerns and I think things can be explained better, but I would like a little more time.
During the public comment period, Alan Moore, senior development manager at Apex, asked the board not to extend the moratorium.
“Miss Perry has already worked on this, so a moratorium would just be another form of kicking the box and prolonging the process even further,” he said. “As you know, the last moratorium was supposed to be short and it lasted over a year.”
Monticello’s attorney, Amy Rupiper, who represents the DeLand Special Drainage District and the Trenkle Slough Special Drainage District, said she supports the moratorium.
“That way all parties can come to an agreement on the wording of the amendment,” she said. “At the moment, there is no consensus on the content of the amendment.”
Rupiper recommended language that would require a wind farm developer to identify all facilities in the drainage district that could be impacted by wind energy conversion equipment. Moore said Apex officials are working on a solution.
“We have been in touch with the drainage districts and hired a local drainage consultant,” Moore said. “The districts have provided maps and we are working on it.”
After the vote, Moore said the wind farm would go ahead.
“We want the county council to take their time and make smart decisions for the project,” he said.
Several Piatt County residents asked the council to reject the project altogether during the public comment period.
“I’m not one of those ‘Not in my backyard’ type people, but I realized you could put one in my backyard,” Laura Stalter of Mansfield said. “Fortunately, the Village of Mansfield voted not to allow an exemption that would allow wind turbines to be within a mile and a half of the town limits. But there are other residents of Piatt County who have no voice except the county council. Please protect us from Apex. They don’t care about the people of Piatt County.
In other cases, the county approved changes to the liquor ordinance. Fees have increased for a Class A ($750), Class B ($600), Class C ($200), Class D ($50), Class E ($50) and Class F ($1,000).
Alcohol may be sold at licensed retail outlets (Class A) between 6 a.m. and midnight Monday through Thursday and until 1 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday, the hours will be from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Rates and schedules are now consistent with those of the City of Monticello.
The county also approved work to be done on the HVAC project for the courthouse in the amount of $448,434. A $200,000 state grant will contribute to the project.