Wind farm proposal hearing allows public opinions to be voiced


Hundreds of men and women of all ages flocked to the Sycamore High School gymnasium, 555 Spartan Trail, at 9 a.m., on Saturday to voice their opinions in a public hearing regarding the proposal of a wind farm in DeKalb County.

What many of these attendees didn’t know was that the hearing would last until about 3:40 a.m. the next morning.

The original hearing on Feb. 19 was canceled due to overcrowding.

The proposal included a plan for 129 turbines to be erected throughout the county and lasted until about 3:40 a.m.

DeKalb hearing officer David Dockus presided over the hearing. He said the purpose of the public hearing was to view all of the evidence and to listen to all opinions, not to make a verdict.

“I am not a judge … nor is this a courtroom,” Dockus said.

Paul Miller, DeKalb County planning director, stressed the importance of the hearing.

“This will be [the public’s] one and only opportunity to ask questions,” Miller said. “There will be no future opportunity for public input or commentary.”

Once the introductions were finished, representatives from NextEra Energy Resources, owned by FPL Group, pitched the idea of the wind farm to the community.

Project director Anthony Pedroni gave an overview of the turbine placement in the county. If the plan is approved, five turbines will be built in Clinton, 22 in Afton, 29 in Shabbona and 73 in Milan. Shabbona will also be the location for the operation center, Pedroni said.

The proposed turbines are to be nearly silent, producing no more than 45 decibels of sound. John DiDonato, FPL executive director said, however, the noise will be audible.

“There will be a quiet sound,” DiDonato said.

Cheryl Tate, Illinois Wind Watch affiliate, found FPL’s pitch to be misleading to the community.

“I felt the representation from the wind developers was not accurate or true,” Tate said. “All of their studies were skewed to their perspective.”

Despite some attendees’ apprehension, DiDonato said the goal of FPL is to help the community be more comfortable with the wind farming process.

“We want to be your neighbors, and we hope to be your friends,” DiDonato said.