This following article by Kevin Haas appeared in the Register Star on January 29, 2009. It is available at: www.rrstar.com/communities/x869014625 I have copied it below for your convenience. Below Kevin’s article are the 19 conditions attached to the Power Venture’s request by the Planning and Zoning Department.
By Kevin Haas
Posted Jan 28, 2009 @ 12:49 AM
Last update Jan 28, 2009 @ 07:00 AM
A proposed peaker power plant in rural Boone County cleared its first hurdle Tuesday with a unanimous recommendation for approval from a county panel. More than 30 people attended a public hearing on a proposed 100-megawatt, natural-gas-fired, reciprocating peaking power plant that would sit east of Garden Prairie Road and south of Interstate 90 in eastern Boone County. Few stayed through to the end of the nearly three-hour deliberations. Peaker plants are intended to operate during times of high demand for electricity to bring a stable electric power source to the region.
After recommending a few additional protections, the county’s Zoning Board of Appeals voted 5-0 to recommend approval to the County Board. The recommendation was to the dismay of neighbors who don’t want the prime agricultural land the plant would sit on swapped for a power facility.
“Is this the best site, or is it an easy site?” Glen Volkening asked. “If we need power, wonderful, but put it where it belongs.”
Before the plant can get local approval it still needs to go before the Planning, Zoning and Building Committee Feb. 4 and the full County Board Feb. 11.
Power Ventures Group LLC, the developers behind the project, also needs a bunch of state and federal permits before moving forward. Not to mention an investor to run the plant, which they are in the process of obtaining. Construction would begin no sooner than fall 2010, which would bring the plant on line by May 2012, developers say.
“This is a region that we have identified that is projected to be deficit in terms of not having enough power to meet the needs of the region around the 2012 time frame,” Jeff Greig of the architectural firm Burns & McDonnell said.
But for nearby residents the concerns were lowered property values and noise and light pollution. The plant would have 12 exhaust stacks that could be as tall as 75 feet.
“How do they expect my property values not to go down when the first thing people are going to see when they go down this road is a power plant?” said Kevin Ernesti, who lives immediately south of the proposed plant. “One of the reasons people like living out there is because of the lack of light pollution. ... That’s one thing about living out in the country, you can actually see the stars.”
Developers said the noise from Interstate 90 would overshadow the noise produced by the plant, leading to minimal effect. They said no smoke or exhaust can be seen coming from the stacks. The Environmental Protection Agency does not consider peaker plants a large source of emissions.
Five people spoke against the project Tuesday; others simply wanted questions answered. The three who spoke in favor, which included Mark Williams of Growth Dimensions, reminded the panel of the need to create jobs and tax dollars.
The construction would create about 125 jobs at its peak, developers say. It would significantly increase the county’s property tax revenues, Williams said.
Staff writer Kevin Haas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815-544-3452.
Two of the nineteen conditions are being slightly amended: #7 if possible, a four feet burm should be included in the landscaping; #15 a performance bond with specified amounts and dates will be required to insure removal in case of abandonment of the project before completion. Click on either of the two pages to make them larger.
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