Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Wisconsin
The Magnolia Township Planning and Zoning Commission voted 4-0 Thursday to recommend a revised ordinance regulating the construction of wind turbines in the township. The ordinance now moves to the town board for approval. Kevin Kawula, an active resident in the wind turbine discussion, supported the proposed ordinance for its compromise. The revised ordinance states wind turbines could be constructed within the half-mile limit if the property owner agrees. ..."(A half-mile) is much better than 1,000 feet," he said. "And if someone wants to sign off on their health and safety, it's just like cigarette smoking-we can't regulate it completely."
Nothing prevented Navitas from starting the project the past two years. Regardless, the BOA upheld the extension. The only item they took from the new wind ordinance was the ability to extend the project, clearly ignoring county requirements on wind turbine siting. It's a reckless decision that could prove costly again to taxpayers. The terms of two BOA members expire in July. I expressed my dissatisfaction to the county executive. Again, he guaranteed they are good people. They may be, but they become paralyzed when making hard decisions and lack direction as a board representing Manitowoc County.
The Calumet County Board of Supervisors meeting last Tuesday, May 20 drew a crowd of about 80 people who were there not so much to listen to the regular proceedings of the meeting but to the presentations given by individuals on both sides of the wind turbine issue. ...Between the public participation speakers and the formal presentations, the controversy over wind turbines appears to be continuing. ...No official action was taken at the meeting concerning changing Calumet County's wind ordinance as it presently stands.
Without regulations, the county could find itself caught between residents who object to the giant turbines and the developers who want to build them. If a permit is requested before rules are in place, "I'd say to you, 'Yeah, go ahead,' " Zoning Administrator Steve Rannenberg told the county's zoning committee Wednesday. Although current ordinances limit structure height to 35 feet, they allow certain types of structures to exceed that limit. "Those regulations need to be in place before we're confronted with an application versus after the fact," Rannenberg said. "You can't then go back and regulate. ... The regulation has to be in place first."
Attorney James Sickel recommended that the Town of Holland adopt the same ordinance developed by the neighboring Town of Morrison to regulate wind energy developments. "It is very well done and thorough," Sickel said. He said it deals with all of the issues on concern to Holland: setback, noise, vibration, shadow, flicker, safety and removal.
With wind energy, he said there are two issues: individual landowners seeking a wind turbine for personal power and large, industrial wind farms. "This is ... considered to be a major land use issue," Rannenberg said. "As you can imagine, there are two sides to this issue as there are two sides to any issue." Some counties have adopted wind farm ordinances, but Douglas County isn't one of them. ...In coming months, the zoning committee plans to review other counties' ordinances and develop regulations of its own before being confronted by issues members are ill-prepared to address now. Without regulations, the county could find itself caught between residents who object to the giant turbines and the developers who want to build them.
A new proposal for a wind energy law in Eau Claire County is being presented to rural leaders after a previous draft had been criticized for making windmills too expensive to build. The county's Planning and Development Committee reviewed the draft Tuesday night and agreed to have it brought to town leaders before coming back for a public hearing on the evening of May 27. "The revision you gave us was a vast improvement," said Will Fantle, a member of the Planning and Development Committee. "This is considerably different."
Farmers considering whether to install a wind turbine to generate electricity likely will face prohibitive county laws and opposition from area residents, a wind energy expert said. With a few exceptions, "if there has been controversy in your neighborhood about a wind farm, people are not going to let you put up a 100-foot tower," said Jenny Heinzen, an instructor specializing in wind turbines at Lakeshore Technical College. ...Heinzen said some residents are afraid installing a wind turbine on their property would "ruin their relationship with their neighbors." She said it would take a property owner willing to fight the ordinance in court after being denied a project to change the county law. But most property owners aren't willing to take the risk, she said.
The Town Board and Plan Commission on April 16 directed town staff to begin amassing information from communities throughout the state that have enacted controls on such towers. Gromacki says the intent is for Dover to adopt its own ordinance. The impetus for Gromacki was a recent return trip from a town government convention when he happened upon part of the We Energies wind farm project in northeast Fon du Lac County east of Lake Winnebago. ... Gromacki said he does not believe the state Legislature has taken sufficient steps to regulate wind turbines.
A judge has dismissed a lawsuit from a wind farm developer that argued Manitowoc County's wind turbine ordinance violates state law and makes the company's proposed project "cost-prohibitive." Manitowoc County Circuit Judge Darryl Deets on Wednesday dismissed the case, which was filed by Emerging Energies LLP of Hubertus, in May 2007. ...In an interview, Deets said the company would have to apply for a conditional-use permit under the most recently amended ordinance before the court could determine if the ordinance's restrictions violate state law.
A combination of setback rules might blow EcoEnergy Engineering LLC's wind farm plan right out of Magnolia. The Elgin, Ill.-based company wants to build a 100-megawatt project that could cover anywhere from 7,000 to 8,000 acres. But the town drafted an ordinance requiring 1,000-foot setbacks from property lines and half-mile setbacks from houses. "The setback would strongly affect where we could build something," said Curt Bjurlin, Wisconsin project developer for EcoEnergy. "But it's still a bit premature to say anything for certain yet." ...Since the Magnolia project looks to break the 100-megawatt mark, the PSC, not the town, will make the final call on the project. Tim Le Monds, the PSC's director of governmental and public affairs, said the PSC would take the town's concerns into consideration and provide opportunities for public comment. ... He also said the PSC will look into the scientific and medical data the Union Township committee researched, but admitted when it comes to large wind farm projects, the PSC refuses little. "I'd say in most cases we pass the projects," Le Monds said. "But you have to realize that we get it from both ends.
The Town of Magnolia Planning and Zoning Board voted 5-0 tonight to table its discussion on a draft ordinance that would regulate wind turbines. More than 30 people turned out for the meeting, which included a public hearing on the draft ordinance. The draft ordinance proposes wind turbines be placed at least a one-half mile from homes and other inhabited structures and at least 1,000 feet from property lines.
Strict setbacks, designed to curtail the potential health impacts of noise from larger commercial wind turbines, were the centerpiece of discussion at the orderly three-hour hearing before the Clay Banks Wind Energy Committee. Legal issues and spillover impact on farms and other businesses also were addressed. The Clay Banks Wind Energy Committee spent about 10 months researching the proposal, which was reviewed by Glenn Stoddard, an Eau Claire attorney who specializes in wind-related issues. ...Guy Fortin, a town of Egg Harbor resident representing CWE, responded to a series of setbacks in the proposal for large commercial wind turbines, including a half-mile from homes and at least one mile from parks and recreational properties. "Simply put, the half-mile setback from residences would completely eliminate commercial wind turbines," Fortin said.
A proposed wind ordinance that would keep wind turbines a half-mile from any home could be up for its first vote Thursday in Magnolia Township. ...The board decided to use the draft ordinance put together by the Town of Union Wind Study Committee, which spent five months researching wind energy, said Gordon Klitzman, Magnolia planning and zoning member. "We thought that was probably a better idea (than the state's model draft ordinance)," he said. "Otherwise, we were kind of going by what the state said, but they didn't have any facts to back it up."
State regulators want to study what it would take to implant giant wind turbines in Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, a move that might someday lead to new power for Wisconsin but cost millions of dollars and transform serene lake views. The three-member Public Service Commission voted unanimously Thursday to begin assessing whether the concept can be executed, the power it could generate, the costs and public sentiment. "There's enough unanswered questions that it's a matter of public policy. We should explore it," said Eric Callisto, commission Chairman Dan Ebert's executive assistant. "The economics have to dictate this makes sense. But right now we're in something of an information vacuum."
State energy regulators, long known for making decisions on how much utility customers pay and whether utilities can build new power plants and transmission lines, are expanding their reach. The Public Service Commission will soon be involved in issues relating to global warming, from a study of whether to put wind turbines in Lake Michigan and Lake Superior to an evaluation of ways the state can cut energy use to reduce power plant emissions. The agency has just kicked off five different proceedings to address recommendations made by the task force on global warming appointed by Gov. Jim Doyle.
State regulators want to study what it would take to implant giant wind turbines in Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, a move that might someday lead to new power for Wisconsin but cost millions of dollars and transform serene lake views. The three-member Public Service Commission voted unanimously Thursday to begin assessing whether the concept can be executed, the power it could generate, the costs and public sentiment. "There's enough unanswered questions that it's a matter of public policy. We should explore it," said Eric Callisto, commission Chairman Dan Ebert's executive assistant. "The economics have to dictate this makes sense. But right now, we're in something of an information vacuum."
A wind farm developer plans to put five 400-foot turbines in either the Town of Kaukauna or the Town of Freedom. EcoEnergy, the developer, will host a public open house from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Freedom High School. The company, which is headquartered in Freeport, Ill., is also developing two projects in Calumet County. The Outagamie County project will cost about $15 million. ...Freedom Town Chairman Tim Maass said Tuesday he doesn't know of anything in the town's zoning ordinance that would govern wind energy or turbine placement, and while the Town Board has talked about the venture, it hasn't taken any action or formulated a position.
Calumet County Board supervisors approved changes to the county's wind ordinance when they met last Tuesday, March 18. Among the biggest changes to Chapter 79 of the county's ordinances is boosting the setback distance for wind turbines from the existing 1,000 feet to 1,800 feet. Public participation at the meeting included residents from the New Holstein area speaking to the 1,800-foot setback requirement. Speakers said they felt citizens surrounding the farm property no longer had a voice. Implications of not passing the ordinance will have self evident effects," one speaker said. The construction of wind turbines was described as "the most contentious issue" this county has faced in years.
A member of the Ad Hoc Committee which helped study Calumet County's existing wind energy ordinance and make recommendations for changes is commending the County Board for its votes last week. Ron Dietrich, who has studied wind energy in depth and has urged local officials to be cautious about allowing wind turbines in Calumet County, said, "We applaud the county supervisors for putting the citizens of Calumet County ahead of the state interest. There is considerable pressure on communities to follow the state's recommendations of turbine placement. Our research found the standards developed by the PSC's staff for noise and setbacks were insufficient in regard to health and safety issues."