March 13, 2023

Dwight Village Board Votes to Approve Eleven Windmills Within 1.5 Mile Boundary

The Dwight Village Board met on Monday March 13 and took further action on the Wind Farm being developed east of the Village.

At the January 31, 2023 meeting the Board had turned down a request by joint developers of the farm, Pattern Energy and ConnectGEN, to allow for 14 turbines to be positioned inside a 1.5 mile distance away from Village boundaries. After listening to concerns from various parties at that meeting, the Board voted 3 – 2 to not allow the variance.

The Energy Firm came to the March 13 Village meeting with a modified proposal which called for 11 towers to still be in the restricted zone but it was pointed out the location of the PharmaCann facility skewed the measurements somewhat. If “Residential Boundaries”, or locations in the Village where homes are actually located, by excluding the PharmaCann finger of land, were used as a benchmark, as opposed to the “Municipal Boundaries”, the distances from residential boundaries in the associated chart would apply.

In addition, the Community Benefit Agreement was reworked which would provide for initial payments to the Village of $25,000 per turbine or $275,000 total. The upfront payments would be paid in three installments coinciding with defined completion steps of the project.

Also, there would be annual payments to the Village of $2,000 per wind turbine. The $2,000 amount would increase by 2% each year.



Village Boundary = PharmaCann / Residential Boundary = Rte 4

 

Below are estimated potential tax revenues for various taxing bodies impacted by the wind farm. (These are slightly overstated now that the number of towers has been reduced)

Projected tax revenue for year one (2025):

Dwight High School – $1 million  ($11,000 per turbine)

Dwight Grade School – $1.3 million ($14,000 per turbine)

Dwight Fire District – $200,000   ($2,500 per turbine)

Dwight Township Road District – $43,000 ($1,150 per turbine)

Prairie Creek Library – $56,000  ($640 per turbine)



Speaking in support of the Wind Farm was Brian Perschnick, a local landowner. He pointed out that the Aldi windmill was already located within the Village limits, and had caused no concern. He expressed that with his previous experience on the High School Board of Education, he had first hand knowledge of the tax benefits that other wind farms in Emington and Ransom had already provided to the School Districts and to all taxpayers. He urged the Board to adopt the updated proposal.

Trustees in attendance were Randy Irvin, Pete Meister, Marla Kinkade, and Jenny Johnson. They voted unanimously to adopt the proposal in favor of the 11 towers to be placed within the 1.5 mile zone. Absent were Chuck Butterbrodt and Justin Eggenberger.

Since the Community Benefit Agreement was not available in time to be placed on the Board Meeting Agenda, it will come to a vote at the next meeting on March 27.

The comments below were provided by representatives of  Pattern Energy /

 ConnectGEN:

 

The eleven wind turbines approved by the Village Board within the 1.5 miles of the Village’s municipal boundaries are between 1 to 2.5 miles from the Village boundary of the primarily residential area south of IL-17.  The Heritage Prairie Renewables Project agreed to drop five wind turbines from their original proposal that were proposed to be located between .5 to 1 mile from that area.  The Project also agreed to drop a sixth turbine as it was located in an area that was targeted for expansion of the proposed industrial mega site east of the Village and north of IL-17. (revised 3/15 17.10)

 

Heritage Prairie Renewables** represents a projected investment of more than $850 million in Kankakee and Livingston counties. During construction, the project will create up to 1,300 jobs, including equipment operators, electricians, laborers, and others. Once complete, the facility is projected to provide on average $5 million per year to local communities, totaling $159 million over the projected facility life.

**Heritage Prairie Renewables is the project name of the proposed wind farm.

In other business at the 3/13 meeting:

  • Gabrielle Kelly was hired as full time EMS Basic
  • Resolution 2023-3 was approved regarding the approval to bore under Route 66 to facilitate installation of a new water main.
  • Resolution 2023-04 was approved appointing Carissa Livingston as Village Administrator. In addition, her contract was approved at a compensation of $83,000 per year.
  • Resolution 2023-05 was approved allowing for updated signatories to be added to an Illinois Housing Development Authority Grant paperwork.
  • Village water meters are in the process of being updated to allow for automated recording.
  • The Dwight Lions Club was granted use of Renfrew Park for their Easter Egg Hunt on April 8.
  • The bid for bridge repairs on Columbia and Washington Streets was awarded to D Construction for an amount of $185,780.00.
  • Opperman Construction Company was awarded the Watters Drive Water Main Looping Contract at an amount of $128,439.00.
  • Railing installation at the ramp and landing at 162 E Main is progressing.
  • EMS calls in January were 108 (133 in 2022) and 86 in February (109 in 2022).

The next Village Board Meeting will be held on Monday March 27.

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