A week after the Glenmore Town Board gave the green light to a Hubertus company to build eight 492-foot wind-power turbines, it halted such projects for six months, leaving lots of questions twisting in the wind.
To residents like Jeff Jens, who in late February pushed for a 90-day pause for health and safety studies, the board’s moratorium seems to have fallen right from the sky.
“Don’t get me wrong, I think this is a brilliant idea,” Jens said. “But it sure seems like an awful lot of things are a coincidence.”
Still uncertain, though: where the idea came from and whom it affects.
Because the moratorium wording specifies “new wind energy system approvals,” it appears the two existing, decade-old Wisconsin Public Service turbines, whose permits are due for renewal, and the eight turbines planned by Emerging Energies aren’t affected.
But just to be sure, the board plans to confirm that with the town attorney.
Town Chairman Don Kittell wasn’t at Monday’s meeting because he was on vacation, leaving supervisors Fritz Dobberpuhl and Kriss Schmidt to deal with the matter. They approved it, making it a unanimous vote.
Jens expressed irritation that the moratorium likely won’t impact the eight turbines going up near his Dickinson Road home. He said he felt the petition he submitted, which 106 residents signed, was ignored last week by the board as it approved the Emerging Energies project.
“What’s changed in a week?” Jens asked.
Town Clerk Lana Ossmann said she believed the moratorium proposal came from the town’s attorneys. She said Kittell faxed her a few days before the March 26 vote, asking that the proposal for a moratorium be put on the April town board agenda.
When Ossmann asked about legal wording, Plan Commission chair Elaine Kittell told her the town’s attorneys were working on it and that it would be forthcoming, Ossmann said. Ossmann said the wording for the moratorium proposal arrived from the attorneys via fax on Friday, just in time for Monday’s agenda.
Also Monday, the board announced Elaine Kittell’s resignation from the Plan Commission. No reason was given. She has been criticized by residents at meetings on the wind issue.
Over the weekend, Lee Gossen announced his intention to run as a write-in candidate for town chairman against Don Kittell.
Gossen, a dairy farmer, said the turmoil at recent meetings spurred him into action.
“Don Kittell runs the meetings. He’s the one who calls on people to speak from the floor, and he’s the one that doesn’t seem to listen,” Gossen said, adding that he has friends on both sides of the issue.
Kittell said last week that Emerging Energies helped the board write its wind energy ordinance, which was adopted in December 2006. That’s left some residents wanting to know why the town would allow a company benefiting from such an ordinance to do so.
“I trusted that the board was looking out for us,” resident Pat Kvitek said.
By Lee Reinsch
The moratorium text
ESTABLISHING A TEMPORARY MORATORIUM ON WIND ENERGY SYSTEMS IN THE TOWN OF GLENMORE
WHEREAS, the Town of Glenmore has determined that considerable study is needed regarding its Wind Energy System ordinance, including but not limited to, the appropriate location of such uses and the additional criteria that should be adopted to regulate the design and safety of the same, as well as the requirements that may be necessary to monitor such uses; and
WHEREAS, the Town has determined that maintaining the status quo promotes the health, safety and welfare of Town residents by allowing the Town time to study the impact that wind energy system projects will have on the Town of Glenmore and design a strategy for environmentally sound wind energy system; and
WHEREAS, the Town Board finds that a temporary moratorium on new wind energy system approvals shall be enacted until the Town of can amend its Wind Energy System ordinance.
The Town Board of the Town of Glenmore, does ordain as follows: AN ORDINANCE IMPOSING A TEMPORARY MORATORIUM ON NEW WIND ENERGY SYSTEM APPROVALS AND THEIR RELATED CONSTRUCTION IN THE TOWN OF GLENMORE.
Section 1. Purpose. The purpose of this Ordinance is to control development of wind energy systems, turbines and facilities within the Town of Glenmore in order to promote the health, safety and general welfare of the Town by allowing time to study revision of the existing Town of Glenmore Wind Energy System ordinance.
Section 2. Moratorium. There is hereby imposed a temporary moratorium on approval and construction of wind energy systems, turbines and facilities in the Town of Glenmore. Except as provided for herein, no development approvals or permits for wind energy systems, turbines or facilities shall be issued for six months in order that a comprehensive study can be completed and the Town of Glenmore ordinance revised accordingly. Wind energy system is defined in the Town of Glenmore’s current Wind Energy System ordinance and includes both Wind Energy System – Large and Wind Energy System – Small.
Section 3. Currently Approved Plans and Construction. Wind Energy system projects approved by the Town Board prior to inception of this ordnance shall be allowed to proceed with their construction subject to the terms of the project’s approval. Any deviation from the terms of the Town Board’s approval shall make said project subject to the terms of this ordinance.
Section 4. Implementation and Duration. This ordinance shall take effect immediately after Town Board approval and as allowable by Wisconsin Statutes. It shall endure until October 2, 2007, unless earlier vacated, amended or extended.
3 April 2007
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