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Lawsuit filed against County Zoning Committee  

Attorney Glenn Stoddard, representing William Semann, of Norwalk, WI, and Myron Brueggeman, of Chicago, IL, filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Monroe County Planning and Zoning Committee. The lawsuit alleges the construction of industrial scale wind towers would affect health and safety, and interfere with a private airstrip owned by Brueggeman.

“If developed and operated as approved under the CUP, the Summit Ridge wind energy project will adversely affect Semann’s health and safety (from excessive noise, debris throw, and other impacts), substantially and unreasonably interfere with the use and enjoyment of Semann’s property, and substantially interfere with and take without just compensation Semann’s property rights, including but not limited to his air rights and development rights,” wrote Attorney Stoddard in the suit.

Plaintiff Brueggeman, an Illinois resident, owns 300 acres of land where he has a conditional use permit for a private airstrip. The complaint alleges that the construction of an unspecified number of wind towers would adversely affect his ability to develop the airstrip as well as his health and safety. Both parties own property in the town of Wells, which did not veto the conditional use permit (CUP) granted to Summit Ridge Energy to construct wind towers.

The lawsuit claims that the Planning and Zoning Committee proceeded on an incorrect theory of law and violated plaintiffs’ rights when it approved an incomplete conditional use permit. The committee also violated their rights when it allowed Summit Ridge to have input in its deliberations and decision after the close of the public hearing, as well as using Summit Ridge’s “findings” for the conditional use permit, according to the complaint.

The suit further alleges that the committee “acted arbitrarily and unreasonably and did not base its decision on the evidence.” It also did not discuss any public testimony or evidence. Lastly, the complaint says the committee based its views on the Montfort wind farm, a much smaller facility, at the request of Summit Ridge Energy and the Fond du Lac County conditional use permit, but did not set forth any factual findings.

The Monroe County Planning and Zoning Committee said it could not comment on the lawsuit, but that it would be handled by its legal counsel.

The Town of Ridgeville previously vetoed the conditional use permit for Summit Ridge Energy to build wind turbines in its municipality. The Monroe County Planning and Zoning Committee will now meet at 9 a.m. June 5 at the Monroe County Courthouse, where it is expected to make a decision in granting Summit Ridge Energy a conditional use permit to build wind turbines in the town of Wilton.

By Keith Zukas

The Tomah Journal

31 May 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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