Boone Co. residents debate wind farm zoning laws - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Boone Co. residents debate wind farm zoning laws

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Boone County has been tossing around the idea of a change in wind farm rules for months. Members of the public got a chance to sound off at a Zoning Board of Appeals meeting.

It was standing room only at the Belvidere City Hall Building where about 100 Boone County residents present their opinions on a proposed revision regarding a wind turbine zoning ordinance.

The change would require wind turbines to be at least  2,000 feet away from buildings or homes. Double that of the current rule.

Matthew Wundrow hopes the change does not pass.  He says it would mean tighter restrictions for farmers like him, who hope to eventually put turbines up on their property.  

"The farmers need help," said Wundrow.  "We had a drought this year. It killed a lot of crops. We need money and this is one of the easiest ways to get it and the safest ways to get it."

He's already considered a contract to put one turbine on his farm. A zoning change may affect his ability to do so.

"This pays. We need money in this area. We're broke," said Wundrow.

His stance is met with stiff opposition. Current turbine rules may help some earn money, but will cost others. Like crop dusters, who find if difficult to fly near wind turbines.

"If just one 80 acre soy bean field, if it can't get treated with chemicals for like fungicide, or something like that, then you're looking at like maybe an 80 percent loss," said Paul Carner, who works as a part-time crop duster.  

He says he wants to see wind turbines set back at the longest distance possible.  

"We don't treat any fields within a mile of a turbine. But down wind of a turbine, even two miles away, there's a lot of turbulence, wind sheer, " said Carner.

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