Amid a continuing wind-turbine controversy – and despite a temporary moratorium on new projects – the town planning commission has approved most of a Suamico developer’s plan for more wind turbines.
Prelude LLC got preliminary approval Tuesday night for five of the seven wind turbines it originally requested. The company withdrew a request for one of the seven after learning its proposed site conflicted with one of two decade-old turbines operated by WPS.
Tom Mattson of Prelude said he “didn’t want to cause any friction” between WPS and the company.
The planning commission failed to approve another turbine after questions arose about its possibly interfering with a turbine planned by another company, Emerging Energies/Shirley Wind LLC of Hubertus.
That group got the green light from the Town Board for eight turbines in late March and is standing its ground against newcomer Prelude in its quest for Glenmore’s wind resources.
Emerging Energies criticized Mattson for not providing details of his plan, such as wind-tower height, blade length, capacity or exact locations.
“We haven’t seen his map yet. The (Glenmore wind energy) ordinance requires a full-scale public map, and he hasn’t provided one,” Emerging Energies partner Tim Osterberg said.
Members of the plan commission got copies of Prelude’s maps, but the public wasn’t privy to them. Prelude didn’t provide a large-scale graphic or visual for the public to see.
Once Emerging Energies learns exactly where Mattson wants his turbines, they plan to consult with their experts and calculate how much wind power stands to be lost should Prelude’s turbines be too close to theirs, partner Bill Rakocy said.
Neither Prelude nor Emerging Energies has erected wind turbines before. On April 3, a judge in Manitowoc County vacated Emerging Energies’ conditional-use permit for seven turbines because a Manitowoc board failed to apply the current version of its wind ordinance, according to the Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter. Five Manitowoc plaintiffs won that case.
On March 26, the Glenmore board gave the go-ahead to Emerging Energies for eight turbines on land owned by four families. A week later –April 2 – the Town Board enacted a six-month moratorium on “new wind energy system approvals” in study safety and tweak its four-month-old wind ordinance.
The April 2 moratorium states that only “projects approved by the Town Board prior to inception of this ordinance” may proceed. That detail didn’t escape citizen Nancy Piotter, who asked why Prelude’s preliminary plans seemed to be proceeding when they hadn’t met that requirement.
“The (town’s) lawyer told us we can’t stop it – it’s in action,” outgoing plan commission chair Elaine Kittell said. “The process starts once (the application) is filed; it’s in motion, and we have to go forward with it.”
The town adopted its wind-energy ordinance in December 2006 after nearly a year of meetings with and input from Emerging Energies. Those meetings were open to the public, town officials say, although few residents attended.
The planning commission is an advisory-only commission to the Town Board.
Town of Glenmore wind energy systems moratorium:
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 project 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 Glenmore 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 SYSTEMS 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 ordinance 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.
By Lee Reinsch
18 April 2007
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