About 25 residents and town leaders gathered Tuesday night to brainstorm suggested revisions to the town’s wind energy ordinance, which will be taken up by the Plan Commission next month.
The suggestions were varied and drew on issues raised by residents on two wind energy projects that have come to the town for approval.
Many were taken from the conditions placed on Emerging Energies/Shirley Wind LLC, a Milwaukee-area company that is going to erect eight turbines in Glenmore.
Since the original ordinance was passed last November, a six-month moratorium has stopped wind energy projects except for Emerging Energies and a second project from Suamico developer Tom Mattson that has yet to be approved by the board. That moratorium was in part to help the town revise its ordinance and review health and safety concerns.
One topic that came up repeatedly from the roundtable discussions was removing a provision in the ordinance that allows the town to regulate the space and density of the turbines. Some residents thought it should be up to the wind companies to resolve spacing issues, not the town.
When Mattson originally pitched his idea for seven turbines, Emerging Energies was concerned that some of his turbines would interfere with theirs, but both parties are reportedly sorting the issue out.
State law gives municipalities few options to regulate wind energy projects. In fact, companies are not required to ask the town for permission before placing turbines.
A few other ordinance revisions suggested by town residents included: independent checks on stray voltage issues, reviewing the setback regulations currently at 1,000 feet, setting a neutral color for the turbines and implementing an annual review with the companies.
By Malavika Jagannathan
6 June 2007
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