County board approves wind energy ordinance despite confusion, questions


Madelyn Kidd

Coles County Board member Stan Metzger reads a recommendation by the State’s Attorney office to be added to the amended ordinance before voting at Tuesday night’s meeting. The Standards for Wind Energy Conversion Systems over 500kW amended Coles County Board ordinance was approved 8-4.

Madelyn Kidd, News Editor

The Coles County Board approved an amended ordinance for the Coles County Ordinance Governing Standards for Wind Energy Conversion Systems over 500kW on Tuesday evening.

The board voted 8-4 for the amended ordinance for wind energy systems producing over 500 kilowatts of electricity. The board first voted on three just added recommended amendments to the ordinance made by Jesse Danley, the state’s attorney, and his office.

The purpose of the ordinance is to assure safe and effective developments and productions of wind made electricity, facilitate economic opportunities for local residents and protect Coles County residents and landowners during the construction, operation and deconstruction of wind energy systems.

The four board members who voted against the amended ordinance were Rick Shook, Desire Corray, Jeremy Daughty, who represents District 4, and Lisa Jaco.

Corray, the board member representing District 9, said there was too much new information in the amended ordinance and confusion by board members to vote yes on the amended ordinance.

“If even individuals that are sitting on the Planning and Development Committee are having doubts about some of this language in the ordinance that possibly we’re forcing a vote tonight,” Corray said. “And we should all have more time to review the suggestions made by the state’s attorney. Because for those of us who don’t sit on that committee because we work when that committee meets, this has been a whole lot to take in, in just days to make such a big decision.”

Jaco, who represents District 6 on the board, said she voted no because there was a lot of information and misunderstandings from multiple board members.

“There was a lot of information on the table, and there was a lot of misunderstandings among several board members that they didn’t understand all the amendments,” Jaco said. “And then the recommendations from Mr. Danley and what they meant.

Both Corray and Jaco stated they would rather have tabled the amended ordinance until the next board meeting.

Shook, the board member representing District 8, said he voted no because he was against the new amended ordinance entirely.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, several people attending spoke to the board about the amended wind ordinance after they approved it.

One of the individuals who spoke, Robb Perry, said the board was “dumb” for going ahead and voting on the ordiance despite board members not being fully informed about all the amendments.

“I just want to say I want to commend you guys around the chairs and the tables tonight doing your job,” Perry said. “Six and a half years I’ve never seen as much dialogue and talk. We want to commend you for that. Now I’m gonna slap you on the nose because here’s the thing. Two good points tonight brought up. Two good points, and it was about the wind farm. There’s people within the county board chairs now that don’t really know how many we ought to allow, or how many they ought to get [referring to individual turbine limits]. And the worst part of that discussion was you turned around to Apex [a company interested in developing a wind energy conversion system in the county] and asked them how many we should get. That’s exactly opposite of what it should be. We should be prepared. And I don’t think you should have moved on that until you all got together.”

Perry said the board did the worst thing they could do in the situation.

“The worst thing you can do is go ahead and vote through it,” Perry said. “That’s dumb. You’re supposed to come to consensus. That’s what we’re to do. And if you guys are arguing between the facts, and you’re not sure of it, why would you go ahead and push it on through? To me that’s just dumb.”

Another public commenter against the amended ordinance, James DiNoso, said the board should have waited to vote until after the upcoming election, in which all board members are on the ballot or leaving the board after this term.

“There’s at least four, possibly five I can’t remember I’ve been coming here for so long, people that were appointed to this board, not elected by your district,” DiNoso said. “And you’re making decisions that will have the impact that’s gonna last for 30 years. Simply made the request ‘Why are we going so fast? Why can’t we just slow down on this?’ Obviously the board members, not all of them are up to speed on some of the issues concerning that wind ordinance. But now it’s passed. We’re going to be stuck with the consequences of a lot of things that are going to pass here by people who are not even going to be here in another three months, which I think is wrong. I think we should wait till after the election to make any type of big decisions and let the people elect their representatives.”

A public commentator in favor of the wind ordinance, Paul Komada, thanked the board for passing the ordinance and supported the future development of wind farms within Coles County including the plan in development by Apex Clean Energy.


Madelyn Kidd can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].