A remodel of an
old ordinance may soon be getting some violators'
attention. Logan County zoning officer Will D'Andrea explained a
proposed amendment that adds a fine, and at $250 per day it is
enough to add bite for those tough-to-get-their-attention cases.
D'Andrea said that 95 percent of the people he talks to are
responsive when told that they are in violation of a zoning code.
The fine is to provide a disincentive to those who typically don't
In short, if a person is found guilty in court, they would have
to pay $250 for each day a violation was not corrected after being
informed of it.
Modified, Zoning Ordinance 14.3 would read as follows:
Any person, firm,
or corporation who, after notification of violation and method of
correction, continues to violate and/or refuse to obey any provision
of this ordinance, shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a Class B
misdemeanor, and shall be fined two hundred and fifty dollars
($250.00). Each day a violation exists or continues shall constitute
a separate offense.
This measure was recommended to and accepted by the Logan County
Regional Planning Commission 7-0 later in the evening. It thereby
moved to the zoning appeals board, who met on Thursday evening. The
appeals board also approved the modification. Next and finally it
will go before the Logan County Board, with final approval expected
at the June 15 adjourned session.
Wind has become a reality in electrical energy production for
central Illinois in just the last few years. The newly emerging
industry arrived on the Logan County horizon with large-scale
commercial wind farms, but lately has evolved to include individual
smaller turbines for private use.
And, it would seem that more of each are sure to come. D'Andrea
said that he has had and is expecting more building permit requests
for both commercial and private-use turbines.
Logan County was ready in advance with an ordinance that included
building permit fees for commercial production turbines. However,
the private-use turbines kind of sneaked up on everyone, and there
was no building permit fee in place for those. D'Andrea noted that
the rate of $20 per foot for the commercial towers was a bit
excessive for individuals intending to offset their electrical costs
with a small turbine at their home or business.
The county board agreed in workshop that a special rate needed to
be put in place for private wind turbines, but that there needed to
be more definition added than what was previously presented.
It was learned that power companies are willing to accept excess
electricity produced by private turbines. Committee chairman David
Hepler assigned committeeman Bill Martin to research how the power
companies are handling the excess electricity generated by private
wind turbines and to find out if the private owners were being paid
for that electricity, which if that were so, would make it a
First off, Martin said that while the power company does accept
excess electricity produced by the privately owned turbines, the
company does not buy that electricity. Rather, the excess
electricity is credited one-to-one to the customer's account.
The process has been defined by
Illinois statute. The power companies use what is called "net
metering." It is defined by production potential and divided as
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Under 2 megawatt
production from a turbine that does not send all its electricity
to the grid does not qualify for commercial.
Over 2 megawatt
production potential allows a turbine to be considered
commercial and get paid for that electricity.
An average hog farm
uses 40 kilowatts.
An average factory uses 1.5 megawatts.
In contrast, looking at commercial wind energy production, Rail
Splitter Wind Farm turbines are 330-feet tall, 495 feet to the top
of blade, and each turbine has a production potential of 1.5
Martin recommended that the county
follow the same structure as the power company, which would make it
consistent with the state statue. He suggested crafting the fee
structure for building permits by using the net metering scale. The
following recommendation would be made to the full board:
A $100 building
permit would be needed for a wind turbine producing 0-10
$250 for a wind
turbine producing 10.1-40 kilowatts.
$20 per foot on turbines producing 40.1
kilowatts to 2 megawatts.
D'Andrea also apprised the committee that Illinois Department of
Natural Resources recently released new flood plain maps. The
release of the new information means that to be in compliance with
the state ordinance, the county will need to rescind its current
ordinance and accept the new recommendations. During the next six
months it will be important to note where the maps differ and why,
On the issue or nuisance properties, Hepler said he felt it would
be good to put this matter under the auspices of the Logan County
Department of Public Health's environmental health officer.
"Don (Cavi) is trying in a firm, but very cooperative way,
working with the state's attorney's office and the sheriff's
department," Hepler said. Having one person as the primary contact
and coordinator would help keep track of what is being done, "and we
can stay on top of these things," he said.
Committee member Pat O'Neill asked about absentee landlord laws
in unincorporated areas. He had a call concerning a residence with
broken windows in Lawndale. D'Andrea said that in general, the
county ordinances would cover structural things inside a building
through the building code. Nuisance laws would cover such things as
garbage and refrigerators outside.
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