Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Wisconsin

Wind energy debate goes to county level

The debate has simmered for five years over America's first offshore wind farm proposed for Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound. Some say the 24-square-mile, 130-turbine, Cape Wind development will spoil one of the country's most majestic expanses of open water. Others say it will provide a fine source of renewable energy. There are no projects like Cape Wind being proposed in Door County - the Peninsula is still grappling with the possibility of land-based models. Yet whether it's the spoiling of pristine water or of the the pristine Peninsula, the arguments for and against wind energy amount to the same.
18 Aug 2007

Towns resist Summit Ridge Energy

The future of Monroe County wind turbines will be decided in court. The Wilton Town Board unanimously denied the claim of Summit Ridge Energy that it had "exceeded its powers and jurisdiction" in vetoing the construction of a wind energy project. After Tuesday's decision, the case will be heard by Judge McAlpine in Circuit Court. "The claim is unfounded. There's no merit to it," said Wilton Chairman Rick Irwin. "It's very clear in the ordinances that townships have the right to exercise a veto for a conditional use permit."
16 Aug 2007

County will revise wind ordinance

Although Door County's 1999 wind energy ordinance is seen as one of the state's most restrictive, County Planner Mariah Goode said proposed revisions will make it even more rigorous for developers. The measure, which details definitions, permit procedures, energy system requirements, administration and enforcement, was put together when there were few references on the issue, she said. Last fall, Goode told the Door County Resource Planning Committee that the county's ordinance needed to be overhauled. The committee began looking at the issue in March. "We are relaxing the setbacks to follow the numbers in the state model and eliminating references to visuals and aesthetics," Goode said. "But we're adding a lot of things that weren't in the current ordinance."
8 Aug 2007

Wind permit hearing to be reviewed

The Monroe County Board of Adjustments decided Thursday to review the public hearing regarding construction of wind turbines in the town of Wells. Wells property owners William Semann, of Norwalk, WI, and Myron Brueggeman, of Chicago, IL, brought the appeal to the Board. The Board will now review the hearing about granting Summit Ridge Energy a conditional use permit and make an independent determination about if the permit should be granted, said attorney for the Board Paul Millis.
6 Aug 2007

Lines drawn on Clay Banks wind energy

Conscious of the potential impact of wind turbines on rural residents, the Clay Banks Town Board formed a six-member panel to study the issue after approving a one-year interim control ordinance to delay establishing such facilities. The interim ordinance approved June 14 established a one-year delay on building nonresidential wind turbines exceeding 170 feet and regulated use of equipment that converts wind energy into electrical power for sale, resale or onsite use. Town Chairman Mike Johnson said the board was unaware of a proposal by Community Wind Energy LLC of Sturgeon Bay to site three turbines before it received a Federal Aviation Administration notice in March approving the plan. CWE never applied for any permits and the FCC application was made as part of an effort to learn about the process, according to Guy Fortin, a member of CWE, a Sturgeon Bay limited liability company. Looking back, Johnson also said he and other board members were "blindsided" by CWE's proposal.
4 Aug 2007

Calumet County will let courts decide turbine setback

CHILTON - Calumet County's rules on siting wind turbines won't change as long as the lawsuit a group of property owners has filed against the county is pending. The county's Planning and Zoning Committee on Thursday declined to discuss proposals that would increase the setbacks for wind turbines to 1,000 feet from a property lines and add a setback from helipads.
3 Aug 2007

Wind farm wins again

MADISON - Invenergy Wind LLC reported Tuesday that it's pleased with a Wisconsin Court of Appeals decision that will allow the $250 million Forward Wind Energy Center to proceed. The appellate court on July 25 affirmed a decision by the Dodge County Circuit Court to uphold the ruling by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin on the 50-square-mile wind farm in northern Dodge and southern Fond du Lac counties. "We are very excited about our first wind energy project in Wisconsin moving ahead," said Kevin Smith, senior vice president of Chicago-based Invenergy Wind. He said construction will probably begin within six months. Joe Breaden, president of Horicon Marsh Systems Advocates, a group opposing the wind farm project, said the appellate court decision wasn't unexpected. "Anytime you pit something in the environment against big money, big money's going to win," he said. "Historically that's the way it goes. We can help the environment (and) we can help the planet, but we really don't care to because the dollar sign gets in the way."
2 Aug 2007

Developer eyes wind farm near Cuba City

A St. Louis-based developer is looking to locate a wind farm in Grant County. Wind Capital Group, LLC, has targeted Smelser Township, west of Cuba City, as the location for the project. Dean Baumgardner, senior vice president of development and operations for Wind Capital Group, said the project boundary has been identified and the company is in the planning stage, which includes mapping and wind studies along with an environmental impact assessment.
2 Aug 2007

Wind turbines churn up concern

CHILTON - Life near wind turbines is hell, a panel told about 500 at a forum Wednesday organized by residents worried that proposed wind farms would affect public health and property values. "The noise produced by turbines is intolerable," Kewaunee County homeowner Mike Washechek said. Washechek has lived about ¼ mile from a wind farm for the last seven years. "My wife thought the dryer was on and there was a tennis shoe in it."
2 Aug 2007

Court keeps wind farm on track

A proposed wind farm in northern Dodge County got a step closer to reality. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals has affirmed a Dodge County Circuit Court judge ruling that construction can proceed on a wind power project that borders northern Dodge and Fond du Lac counties.
31 Jul 2007

Calumet wind farms focus of two meetings

CHILTON - A group of people concerned about what three wind farm projects could mean for Calumet County will hold an information forum Wednesday at the Engler Center for the Performing Arts. The Engler Center is located at 530 W. Main St. The event begins at 7 p.m. Thursday at 1 p.m., the Calumet County Planning and Zoning Committee will consider requests to modify its wind energy ordinance.
30 Jul 2007

Clay Banks considers permits for wind turbines

The Clay Banks Windmill Planning Committee heard differing ideas regarding what permits should be allowed in the study of the alternative energy source. Tom Draeger, 1379 County Highway U, suggested the committee consider setbacks at its regular meeting on Saturday, July 21. The panel has been using Shawano County's ordinance as a format to address such issues as site reclamation, road repair and site abandonment. There are potential problems with 1,000-foot setbacks if someone builds a house at the center of a 40-acre tract and there were wind turbines on either side outside the lot lines, he said. The property owner would not be able to be located 1,000 feet from either turbine. "You could get a conditional use permit to do that, but would you want to deal with the health and safety aspects?" Draeger asked.
28 Jul 2007

Wind resistance: alternative energy hits snags

Some alternative energy projects in western Wisconsin are getting the wind knocked out of them. State law prevents local governments from passing ordinances that hinder wind energy, but alternative energy companies can still run into roadblocks along the way. AgWind Energy Partners recently pulled the plug on a wind farm project in Trempealeau County, after facing fierce resistance from residents there. People were concerned the shadows from the blades could cause seizures, the noise from the generators would affect quality of life, and the overall aesthetics of the county would suffer, among many other concerns.
27 Jul 2007

Wind farm to move forward on construction

A Chicago company said it plans to move forward with the construction of a controversial $250 million wind farm covering parts of Dodge and Fond du Lac counties after an appellate court affirmed a prior court ruling clearing the project. Invenergy Wind L.L.C. said in a statement issued Wednesday that it will move forward with a plan to build as many as 133 wind turbines on more than 32,000 acres near the Horicon Marsh. The Public Service Commission approved construction of the 200-megawatt wind farm in July 2005. The project approval process was challenged in court by a group seeking to protect the Horicon Marsh, but a circuit court held that the PSC properly issued the approvals.
25 Jul 2007

Talk on effects of wind turbines set

CHILTON - A public information meeting on life near wind turbines will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 1 at the Engler Auditorium at Chilton High School in Chilton. The event, which is hosted by Calumet County Citizens for Responsible Energy, is free and open to the public. Dr. Nina Pierpont, a pediatrician, will speak on the "wind turbine syndrome" and the health effects of wind turbines on humans. Dr. Richard Bolton, a physicist and president of the Environmental Compliance Alliance, will talk about the environmental impact of wind turbine noise on humans and wildlife.
23 Jul 2007

Concerns raised about wind farm in township

MAGNOLIA TOWNSHIP-Residents packed the town hall Tuesday night to ask how 400-foot wind turbines might affect their quality of life and how much revenue the town would collect from a wind farm. The township is the site of a proposed wind farm that could dot the countryside with 34 to 66 turbines. Following an informational workshop, the town board unanimously passed an ordinance to defer applications and stay construction of wind energy systems for six months while the town studies the issue and drafts a permanent ordinance. The board will begin work on an ordinance at its Aug. 14 meeting.
18 Jul 2007

Committee hears input on proposed wind ordinance

Do not penalize the little guy. This was the central theme at the second wind ordinance public meeting held Monday evening on a proposed draft to regulate wind turbines in Sawyer County. The ordinance, as many in attendance agreed, too forcibly limited small operations, or personal wind systems, which according to Edgewater Township Chairman Waldo Asp, should be the preferred method to harness energy from the wind, as Sawyer County does not have the sustained winds to make a larger system feasible.
18 Jul 2007

Glenmore tweaks wind ordinance plan

GLENMORE - The Plan Commission on Tuesday waded through comments and suggestions for changes to the Glenmore wind ordinance offered by residents at a meeting last month, nixing some ideas and enhancing others. The wind ordinance, adopted in December 2006, regulates spacing, setback distances and aesthetic qualities of turbines, as well as other things. The June meeting, held roundtable style, aimed to take citizen input into consideration in fine-tuning the ordinance. Among the changes the Plan Commission will recommend to the Town Board to adopt include:
11 Jul 2007

Glenmore continues to study wind ordinance

GLENMORE - The Glenmore Plan Commission tonight will discuss residents' suggested changes to the town's wind ordinance. The meeting is a continuation of the June 5 meeting at which residents were given free rein to suggest changes to the town's wind-energy ordinance, which was adopted in late 2006. Public testimony won't be taken at tonight's meeting, however. Residents instead will be allowed to write comments on index cards provided by the town. Town Clerk Lana Ossmann said the Town Board likely will wait until its August meeting to decide when to set a public hearing on the changes.
10 Jul 2007
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