Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Wisconsin
Wind turbine construction is off the table in Calumet County for the time being as supervisors regroup from a court decision that invalidated their restrictions on placement of the systems. The Calumet County Board passed a moratorium on turbine construction Tuesday that could remain in effect until the end of the year. It could end earlier should the board change or replace the ordinance.
A wind energy debate that's turned neighbor against neighbor in Calumet County took a new turn last week through 13 pages prepared by a three-judge panel. A county ordinance that regulated wind turbines is no longer valid, according the state Court of Appeals. Officials said it's too early to tell what the decision will mean to the future of wind energy in Calumet County.
A Wisconsin appeals court on Wednesday effectively struck down numerous municipal ordinances that have slowed the development of wind energy, lawyers said. Local governments cannot pass broad rules dictating how far wind turbines must be from other buildings, how tall they can be or how much noise they can produce, the Waukesha-based District 2 Court of Appeals ruled.
A Wisconsin appeals court is limiting the restrictions that local municipalities can place on the installation of wind turbines. The District 2 Court of Appeals says state law promotes alternative energy sources such as wind energy and discourages local policies that arbitrarily limit them.
State regulators plan to vote today on a Wisconsin utility's plans to build a massive wind farm in southern Minnesota. Wisconsin Power & Light Co., a subsidiary of Madison-based Alliant Energy, wants permission to start the first phase of the farm on 32,500 acres just north of Albert Lea in Freeborn County. Plans call for scores of turbines that would generate about 200 megawatts of electricity.
The bent tree wind farm project has been in the works since 2003. Now the Wisconsin Power and Light Utility Company is looking to secure a permit in Minnesota to begin construction on the project. But not everybody is happy.
More local disputes over siting of wind turbines are headed for the courts. The legal fights are popping up, as state lawmakers debate a statewide siting bill. Some people in Trempealeau County are the latest to file a complaint alleging a county law on wind turbine siting is too restrictive.
State regulators plan to vote Thursday on a Wisconsin utility's plans to build a massive wind farm in southern Minnesota. Wisconsin Power & Light Co., a subsidiary of Madison-based Alliant Energy, wants permission to start the first phase of the farm on 32,500 acres just north of Albert Lea in Freeborn County. Plans call for scores of turbines that would generate about 200 megawatts of electricity.
Wisconsin Rapids officials are working to create a policy regulating small wind-energy systems but want legislators in Madison to create a statewide law for consistency. With a planned 350,000-square-foot plant expected to produce large, industrial wind turbine blades, the city currently has no rules regulating smaller, more residential wind mills, Mayor Mary Jo Carson said.
As the state pushes for more wind energy and fewer local restrictions, Menomonee Falls is one of the first communities in southeastern Wisconsin to tackle the issue, trying to strike a compromise between small windmills and commercial farms. Village employees began researching the issue after a local resident expressed interest in installing a small wind turbine in his yard to reduce energy costs.
A bill that would help determine where wind farms can be built in Wisconsin is sparking debate among people in Monroe County. Retired farmer Fernnell Becher says it's been an ongoing debate for years.
Tom Alisankus' blood pressure rises when discussion turns to a proposed bill to regulate wind energy. The issue angers him, he said, because the proposed state regulations would remove local control, wiping out months of work by a study committee he chaired to write an local ordinance regulating wind energy in Union Township.
It's becoming increasingly difficult to determine which way the wind is blowing in the continuing debate over who should oversee wind farm developments in Wisconsin. ...We believe local governments are quite capable of deciding what is best for the people that live within them. If the state wants to have a role in local wind farm decisions, we feel it should be advisory only.
The process has been a long one, and there have been many misleading and false statements made by the applicant and those representing them, so it's no surprise that proponents of the project continue to mislead and spread false information. In the interest of truth, I would like to share some facts that are being overlooked, and in some cases suppressed.
The Manitowoc County Board of Adjustment rejected earlier this week a developer's request for approval to build a seven-turbine wind project west of Two Rivers. The decision marks the latest setback in the project developer's four-year-long quest to erect a community-scale wind project in the Town of Mishicot, according to a press release from Renew Wisconsin.
An ordinance created to guide wind energy development in Douglas County gets a public hearing Tuesday in the Government Center. The purpose of the ordinance is to provide a regulatory scheme for the placement, construction and operation of wind energy facilities in Douglas County to preserve the public health and safety.
Plans of a Chicago-based wind developer to erect over 60 wind turbines in the area may have been derailed by a ruling in Monroe County Circuit Court last week. In a decision released Wednesday, Judge Michael McAlpine upheld the actions of the towns of Wilton and Ridgeville, which vetoed conditional use permits (CUPs) issued to the wind developer.
Lawmakers will rally again for statewide regulations on wind farm development in the upcoming legislative session, and, if the standards pass, local regulation could be a thing of the past. "We will push for the (Public Service Commission of Wisconsin) to create uniform standards and regulation of wind energy for all projects," said Curt Pawlisch, an attorney with Cullen Weston Pines & Bach LLP, Madison. Pawlisch is revising wind farm standards that failed to get out of legislative committees last session. "I wouldn't say local regulations would be for naught," he said, "but the PSC would determine what works and what doesn't."
On November 13, the Union town board unanimously voted to adopt regulations governing noise limits and setbacks pertaining to industrial scale wind turbines. With this vote, the board brought to a close a controversial issue involving the safe placement of industrial turbines within the town of Union. The vote comes just months before the expected intense political wrangling by some members of the State legislature who seek to assign all wind siting authority to the Public Service Commission, leaving local governments out of the process.
Filling what it argues is a void in the state's vetting of wind-power projects, the town of Union is marking its turf with a proposed ordinance essentially outlawing such projects. "I think the state of Wisconsin has shown it's going to do what (wind-farm development) companies want," said Tom Alisankus, Union municipal judge and resident. "I think they look at these big wind-farm projects and just hope there won't be enough resistance at the local level to slow them down. "But I think they'll find there's fight in some of these places, and Union is one of them."