Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Wisconsin
"[The moratorium] kind of just stops everything, gives everybody some breathing room to make some decisions," said town supervisor Matt Krenz. The moratorium gives the town board time to consider an ordinance that will set ground rules for wind developers hoping to set up turbines in the town.
Wisconsin regulators voted Thursday to deny a request from some Green County residents to stop construction of a controversial wind farm near Monroe. The 65-megawatt Sugar River Wind project proposed by EDF Renewables would consist of 24 turbines in the town of Jefferson near the Illinois border.
The Clear Creek Town Board approved a one-year moratorium Monday night on wind farm development in the town. The action came in response to overwhelming demand from town residents who attended a special meeting last week about a proposed 200-megawatt wind farm in southern Eau Claire County. ...Eau Claire County Supervisor Carl Anton said he plans to deliver a copy of the moratorium to the county’s Planning and Development Committee today.
The action is the result of a special meeting of the Town Board on Tuesday at which residents voted 60-15 to direct the board to draft the moratorium. The board plans to adopt it at its Monday meeting.
Mayor Steven Ponto said he's frustrated that the state has hamstrung local communities with such a broad plan. "Local governments know the needs and desires of their communities better than the state government does," Ponto said. "There should be flexibility on the local governments to make decisions that reflect the needs of the community.
Sen. Frank Lasee, R-Ledgeview, recently introduced a bill that would allow officials in cities, villages, towns and counties to establish the minimum distance between a wind turbine and a home - even if those rules are more restrictive than any the state tries to enact.
"Local communities should be able to create their own rules for public safety," Lasee said. "We shouldn't leave it to bureaucrats in Madison to make these decisions that affect home values and people's lives. Madisonites aren't the ones living next to the turbines.
Trustees Harry Manning and Gary Feest were both present and gave their input about the turbines; Manning saying he didn't feel the Planning Commission could move forward without an ordinance. "I think we should consider a stay until the state figures out where its going with turbines," he said.
In a 4-1 vote Tuesday, the project came to a halt amid concerns - expressed by board members and would-be neighbors - over noise, the turbine's appearance and possibly decreasing neighbors' property and home values.
The Legislature's joint committee for review of administrative rules voted earlier this month to temporarily block a wind farm site rule developed by the state Public Service Commission. But that action was only good for 30 days. To keep the rule from taking effect Friday, the committee will meet again Tuesday to consider a bill that would send the issue back to the PSC.
But building the turbine on the second site — on land adjacent to the Lake Express car ferry at 2330 S. Lincoln Memorial Drive — could violate the state Public Trust Doctrine, according to an opinion by Stuart Mukamal, an assistant city attorney. The doctrine maintains the lakes and rivers belong to all Wisconsin citizens. The public’s right to access the waterways is legally well-established.
It's true that wind turbine critics wanted a farther setback -- one figure that gets thrown around is a 2-kilometer setback, or more than 6,000 feet. But that the PSC's figure is less than critics wanted and more than developers proves nothing about the process that produced the PSC's rule. Was, in fact, the process fair?
If the PSC guidelines didn't reflect the state real estate association data on decreased property values, and if the industry cannot guarantee acceptable sound levels prior to construction, then the risk is all mine. As long as there is not a clear and easy recourse to be sure my rights and property values are protected, I will object.
Buried in a regulatory reform bill proposed by Gov. Scott Walker earlier this week lies a provision that wind energy insiders say could shut down 12 wind farm projects, cost investors billions and essentially kill the industry in the state.
On Jan. 1, a new Wisconsin state law took effect that wind energy advocates call an important step - and even a national model - for alleviating the chaotic and shifting patchwork of municipal and county siting regulations that can create great uncertainty and moving goalposts for wind developers.
A wind-siting rule that took effect in Wisconsin on Jan. 1 could open the door to wind farms in southwest Wisconsin. The rule provides a path for obtaining a permit to build a wind farm -- as long as the project developers abide by the guidelines established by the state Public Service Commission. If a township opts to regulate a wind-energy power system, its ordinances can't be more restrictive than the PSC's rules.
"The concern that I have is putting windmills in close proximity to the city limits," Blaha said, after conferring with County Board Chairman Bob Weidner on the issue. Residents' main concern about the project involves setbacks, he said. The Public Service Commission proposed a 1,000-foot setback from property lines and residences.
[Walter] Wiersma, of Friesland, was one of many people at the standing-room-only hearing who said worries about the health effects, safety and noise from wind turbines in a 17,300-acre area of the towns of Scott and Randolph, should lead the commission to reject the We Energies proposal for Glacier Hills Wind Park. "I'm for green energy," he said, "but I don't want it to hurt my family and friends." The afternoon and evening sessions for the hearing were moved from the Randolph Town Hall to the Friesland Village Hall to accommodate more people.
Officials in Union and Magnolia townships consider moratoriums on wind turbines to be the temporary answer in response to a new state law. Wind developer EcoEnergy has proposed projects in both communities. Local residents are concerned the new process on siting wind energy systems signed into law this week will erase their work to protect themselves from negative effects.
How close would you want to live to a wind farm? That's a question lawmakers are considering as they try to create more wind energy projects. State Senators are scheduled Tuesday to vote on a bill (SB 185), which would direct the Public Service Commission to set a statewide set of standards on where turbines could be sited in relation to homes and businesses. As of now, depending on the county, those tall spinning turbines can as be close as 500 feet from homes, or as far away as one mile.