Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Wisconsin

Calumet County wind turbines still up in air

Dozens of Calumet County residents have expressed worry about how noise and vibration from the huge turbines will affect adjoining property owners. "We need to take our time, because if we don't do it right we're not going to be able to change it in the future," Supv. Alice Connors said. "This is a very, very important decision, and I think we need this moratorium to learn from our neighbors." Others suggested a long moratorium would just drag out what has already been a long process. Opponents have demanded tougher restrictions since the county adopted the existing ordinance in mid-2006.
16 Jan 2008

Calumet board passes 70-day ban on wind farm permits

...largely fruitless debate over recommended changes to its ordinance regulating wind energy, the board passed a 70-day ban on permits for wind turbines. ...Ron Dietrich, a member of the committee that proposed the changes, which would increase the distance between turbines and houses, schools, hospitals and other structures, said he was disappointed the longer moratorium didn’t pass, but glad the board hadn’t rejected the committee’s recommendations.
15 Jan 2008

Wind farm issue comes to head; Controversy goes to Calumet County Board on Tuesday

Residents in some Calumet County towns have spent the last two years jousting with developers and major landowners over huge wind turbines on titanic wind farms. The sparring is set to culminate Tuesday, when the Calumet County Board considers a special committee’s recommendations to tighten the county’s rules about where developers can put wind turbines — proposals designed to temper 400-foot wind turbines’ effects on neighbors’ lives.
12 Jan 2008

Wind Turbines: Who Benefits?

One of the most disturbing aspects of the turbine debate is its sole focus on health and safety issues; there are much more compelling reasons for regulating industrial turbines, particularly in the environmental and economic spheres. I find it particularly disturbing that the Wisconsin statutes that mandate renewable energy use have deliberately removed the term "welfare" from local regulatory powers to protect "health, safety and welfare." This censors debate on all issues except health and safety, and the most important reasons to regulate commercial turbines are left off the table. ...This [Trempealeau County] ordinance passed not because the citizen's committee was stacked, or because the county board is incompetent, it passed because the developers were unable to demonstrate that the county had anything to gain by unfettered development. Protecting the health and safety of its citizens was more important than profits.
28 Dec 2007

Morrison looking at wind ordinance

An ordinance to regulate wind energy systems should be on the books in the town of Morrison by early January. ...At the hearing, a representative of a company seeking to build wind turbines in southern Brown County said he had few problems with the proposed ordinance, including St. Peter's suggested additions to fine-tune it.
24 Dec 2007

County board OKs wind energy process

Concluding a series of public hearings, Sawyer County supervisors on Dec. 20 adopted an updated floodplain zoning ordinance. They also passed a wind energy ordinance allowing turbines of various sizes to be placed on private properties with a zoning permit. ...The county’s wind energy ordinance allows four types of wind energy systems ...Christman noted that large wind energy systems and wind farms could be located only in areas zoned for agriculture, forestry or industry on parcels of five acres or more. The Wisconsin Towns Association-Sawyer County Unit asked that affected town boards have the opportunity to approve/deny such wind energy permits.
24 Dec 2007

Developer says rules would stop Calumet wind turbines

County Board Chairman Merlin Gentz appointed the committee to advise him after months of controversy over 400-foot wind turbines two developers want to erect in the towns of Chilton, Stockbridge and Brothertown. Among its recommendations are: prohibiting "flicker" from the turbines on roads with daily traffic counts of 500 or more; requiring 1,800 feet between turbines and homes, schools, parks and businesses; and limiting noise. ...Gentz formed the committee after the county imposed a 120-day moratorium on turbine permits in September. He attempted to appoint an equal mix of wind proponents and skeptics to the group, which met 10 times.
19 Dec 2007

Trempealeau County passes wind turbine zoning that may be strictest in nation

After 14 months of deliberation, the Trempealeau County Board of Supervisors voted 10-6 Monday night for a controversial zoning ordinance that developers say stifles commercial wind energy development. The ordinance, which wind advocates and opponents believe may be the strictest in the nation, was based on health and safety concerns as well as quality of life, said a citizens' committee that drafted the ordinance. The 16-page ordinance requires turbines over 150 feet high - most commercial wind towers are about 300 feet - to be at least a mile from the nearest home and a half-mile from neighboring property lines. Additional setbacks keep turbines away from roads, railroads, wildlife refuges and other places.
19 Dec 2007

Committee proposes new wind regulations for Calumet

A special committee's recommendations for governing wind energy will make it impossible to farm wind in Calumet County, a developer said today. County Board Chairman Merlin Gentz appointed the committee to advise him after months of controversy over 400-foot wind turbines two developers want to erect in the towns of Chilton, Stockbridge and Brothertown. Among its recommendations are prohibiting "flicker" from the turbines on roads with daily traffic counts of 500 or more, requiring 1,800 feet between turbines and homes, schools, parks and businesses and limiting noise. Any one of those restrictions would jeopardize the project EcoEnergy LLC plans, Wisconsin Projects Director Curt Bjurlin said.
18 Dec 2007

Trempealeau County to pass restrictive wind turbine ordinance

Wind energy has become a divisive issue for Trempealeau County's residents over the past 14 months. The county board will vote Monday on a third draft of a wind ordinance they've been wrestling with since investment group AgWind Energy Partners approached the board in September 2006 with a request to look at three potential sites to build four to six turbines. The proposed ordinance is stricter than the previous two. It would require turbines to be at least a mile from all habitable structures and a half-mile from property lines. Among more than 30 other restrictions is a requirement that the noise from the turbines can't exceed 40 decibels when measured at any residence.
16 Dec 2007

Take up wind tower issue with state representatives

the Calumet County Board has very limited authority under Wisconsin law to restrict wind towers. Wisconsin Statute 66.0401 states in part: No county may place any restriction, either directly or in effect, on the installation or use of a wind energy system, unless the restriction satisfies one of the following conditions: a) Serves to preserve or protect the public health or safety; (b) Does not significantly increase the cost of the system or significantly decrease its efficiency; or (c) Allows for an alternative system of comparable cost and efficiency. Since this law was enacted in the early 1980s, there has not been one recorded case where a municipality was successful in banning wind towers outright.
3 Dec 2007

RPC looks at wind energy changes

The town of Clay Banks wants greater restrictions placed on wind energy facilities, whereas a local wind development company calls those restrictions excessive. Between the two lies Door County's efforts to revise a Wind Energy Ordinance that's been on the books since 1999 but never used. The Door County Resource Planning Committee discussed Nov. 15 the draft ordinance that's been undergoing a face lift since March. The county undertook the revision so that the ordinance would protect health and safety, yet withstand a legal challenge by a wind developer.
24 Nov 2007

Town of Beloit gearing up for wind farm

Beloit Township might not be the best place in the county for a wind farm. But you never know. The town plan commission is discussing a draft ordinance regulating placement of wind towers. No one has proposed turbines in the township, but it wants to stay ahead of the game, said Supervisor Dave Townsend, who suggested the ordinance. “My goal is to be proactive in heading off any potential large wind farm developments that might adversely affect neighbors,” he said. “I support alternative energy, obviously. But I think they have to be carefully regulated as to where they’re going to be.”
20 Nov 2007

Calumet County wind turbine debate pits neighbors, families against each other

Giant windmills won't appear in Calumet County for years - if ever. Just the same, their phantom silhouettes are a very real part of the county's landscape. ...and the still unbuilt windmills have set off a battle over property rights - mostly between farmers and residential property owners. ..."In the end, we're still going to have regulations that govern the placement and operation of these facilities," Gentz said. "I just want to make sure we have looked at all of the data and all the angles necessary to protect the health and safety of our people. In the end, I'm sure there are going to be people who are jumping for joy and people who will be very disappointed." Meanwhile, Lisowe's farm is off-limits to some turkey hunters who've used his land in the past. He and some of the other large landowners are thinking about cutting off access this season to snowmobiles, too. "We feel like doing it to make a point," he said.
23 Oct 2007

Glenmore Town Board considers wind farm changes; Final ordinance expected by Nov. 5 meeting

The Town Board is inching closer to a final Wind Energy System ordinance after its public hearing last week. Adopted in late 2006, the ordinance has gone through a number of revisions, but officials said a final version will be available for approval at the board's Nov. 5 meeting. The ordinance needed tweaking after the Town Board voted to allow Emerging Energies to build eight turbines on land owned by four families.
22 Oct 2007

Wind turbine is not wanted

County government has the right and duty to investigate the reality of wind turbine facilities and to write a wind energy ordinance that protects the health and safety of its citizens. ...You have to be very naive to believe a 400 to 500 foot, 270-ton to 330-ton piece of machinery would not make noise and negatively affect your family and community. Yes, many of us in Trempealeau County want to protect our health and safety - if you're as smart as I think you are, wouldn't you too?
22 Oct 2007

Several wind projects studied around county

Nearby Johnstown Township is higher in elevation, but the environment doesn't bode well for turbines, Slaymaker said. Parts of the town reach 1,051 to 1,079 feet in elevation, but much of that area is wooded, he said. Aside from the physical obstructions, wooded areas bring more environmental concerns such as birds and bats, he said. Town of La Prairie officials have not had formal discussion about writing a wind farm ordinance, but they know it's coming, town Chairman Michael Saunders said. "Unfortunately, in the town business we've got to know more and more about less and less," he said. "This is one issue I've started to watch on the horizon."
13 Oct 2007

County alters wind ordinance

Supervisors voted 20-1 to approve an amendment requiring that information be posted on each large wind energy system so that the owner can be contacted in the event of a noise complaint. The placard must provide a telephone number for law enforcement or officials to call to investigate a noise complaint, sound level measurement, or administration of this ordinance, the amendment said.
19 Sep 2007
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