The Clay Banks Town Board plans to oppose a request to build wind turbines in the town.
The decision came after residents at the annual town meeting Tuesday, April 10, said they would oppose such a project.
The board is concerned about the impact commercial wind turbines might have, said Town Chairman Mike Johnson. The board will update residents on the issue in an informational letter that will be sent early next week.
Community Wind Energy LLC of Sturgeon Bay, Sturgeon Bay Utilities and Wisconsin Public Power Inc. proposed setting up wind turbines at two locations in the town. An application was filed with the Federal Aviation Administration through the state Bureau of Aeronautics to determine whether the towers would have any adverse effect on air traffic at Cherryland Airport.
The Town Board went on record against the proposal after several of the 25 residents there spoke against it. The board will continues to seek input from proponents of the proposal, Clerk Jessica Bongle said.
The placement of wind turbines is a community issue, said Town Supervisor John Fritschler, because the devices lead to reduced property values and can impede cellular telephone and satellite services.
“It’s hurting the whole community,” Fritschler said. “The community of Clay Banks needs to have a say on it, not just one special interest group.”
The board was not aware of the request until April 4, when Bongle said she received the letter from the state Bureau of Aeronautics.
The Door County Planning Department proposed changes March 15 in the county wind energy system ordinance. The revised measure will go to the county Resource Planning Commission for reconsideration.
Door County Supervisor Bob Ryan supported the revision, which would loosen county requirements for windmills.
The change is intended to match county rules with the state law, Ryan said.
“My greatest fear is that we would get angry with each other and not be able to talk about this issue,” Ryan said. “I hope people feel that they can look to their elected representatives for help in working out their differences.”
Johnson said he was disappointed with Ryan’s recent vote to revise the county’s wind ordinance.
“The intent of this action is to conform the county ordinance to a state model ordinance,” Johnson said. “They will weaken the county ordinance, and further allow a higher density of commercial windmills in Door County if they continue in this direction.”
The Town Board voted unanimously to draft a letter opposing turbines, and send it to SBU and WPPI. According to the WPPI Web site, Fritschler said selected projects would be done with “the support of the community as a whole.”
In other business, residents reappointed Louis Janda as a member of town Cemetery Committee. Dick Hitt, was reappointed chairman and Sharon Wiemer was reappointed secretary-treasurer.
By Kurt Rentmeester
14 April 2007
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