Board hears complaint about wind farm interfering with TV reception

PAXTON — A relative newcomer to the Kempton area complained Monday night to the Ford County Board about how the nearby Kelly Creek Wind Farm has caused him difficulty in receiving channels via antenna on his television.

What the resident apparently did not know was that about two years ago, other residents of the Kempton area in northern Ford County spoke monthly to the board about similar problems caused by the wind farm, which is owned by EDF Renewables of North America.

The resident, Chuckie Loveall, said he and another neighbor, whose letter he read to the board, had particular difficulty communicating with the company’s regional senior director, Sylvia Gibson of San Diego.

Both Loveall and the neighbor complained of Gibson’s inaccessibility and rudeness when they were able to actually speak with her.

Loveall, who bought his home in the Kempton area in June 2018, said Gibson told him the television-reception problems he has experienced were the home seller’s fault for nondisclosure. Gibson, meanwhile, did not tell him about the settlements the company reached with area homeowners so they could pay for alternative sources of television.

Loveall left his contact information with the board and was given another phone number for customer service for EDF. The office that EDF had maintained in Kempton is no longer there.

As a direct result of all the complaints two years ago, the board placed a moratorium on the issuance of any more special-use permits for proposed wind farms in the county. The complaints also prompted the board to explore revisions to the county’s ordinance regulating wind farms so that similar problems can be prevented or at least more easily addressed in the future.

The board’s zoning committee continues to work on rewriting the ordinance and has scheduled its next meeting for 7 p.m. Monday, March 18, in the small courtroom at the courthouse in Paxton. If necessary, that meeting is expected to be continued to 9 a.m. Thursday, March 21.

Zoning committee chairman Randy Ferguson of Gibson City said it could be summer before a new ordinance is approved.

Also Monday, the county’s highway engineer, Greg  Perkinson, said the county has settled with EDF regarding road-repair issues. However, Rogers Township has not settled, and attorneys and engineers continue to meet about unresolved problems.

Other business
Also at Monday’s meeting:

➜ The board  accepted the  low bids for 2019 township road repairs to be funded using motor-fuel tax revenue. The acceptance of the bids was subject to approval by the Illinois Department of Transportation. The majority of the $950,000 in bidded work was awarded to Gray’s Material Service and General Materials Corp. 

➜ Supervisor of Assessments Kim Hooper said her office has been busy valuing properties and sketching each house and outbuilding in Gibson City. Hooper said she wants the public to know that she, her assistant and others will be in Gibson City to review reassessment requests and take photos.

➜ Personnel and insurance committee chairman Tom McQuinn of rural Paxton scheduled a meeting of his committee for 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 19, in the small courtroom.

➜ The board concurred the finance committee’s recommendation to appoint David Maul as a drainage commissioner for the Sugar Creek Drainage District through September 2021 and  reappoint William Berry as a trustee for the Piper City Fire Protection District through May 2022.



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