The Monroe County Planning & Zoning Committee voted 4-1 to grant Summit Ridge Energy LLC a conditional use permit (CUP) to build wind turbines in the town of Wilton Tuesday.
“It was a “˜cookie cutter’ procedure”, said Atty. Glenn M. Stoddard, representing two Wells clients who filed lawsuit against the Committee. “I think they (the Committee) knew their decision before the meeting started.”
Richard Yarrington was again the only Committee member to vote against allowing the construction of wind turbines. He tried to increase setbacks (limits) for the wind turbines to 1,250 ft. from residences not participating in the wind energy project, but the motion failed. Committee members did not discuss the geography of the Wilton area nor any specific issues with the town of Wilton. The Committee seemed to only be extending its conditional use permit to include the town.
All interested parties had legal representation at Tuesday’s meeting, which kept communication terse and the atmosphere sober. Lawyers Raymond M. Roder, representing Summit Ridge Energy, and Glenn M. Stoddard, respresenting Wells clients William Semann, of Norwalk, WI, and Myron Brueggeman, of Chicago, IL, appeared at the meeting. Corporation Counsel for Monroe County Kerry Sullivan-Flock was also present to set up an appointment for the Planning & Zoning Committee to meet with attorney Michael J. Modl, who was appointed by the county insurance company to represent the Committee.
Atty. Stoddard filed a lawsuit against the Monroe County Planning & Zoning Committee May 29 for allowing wind turbines to be built that would affect the health and safety of his clients as well as a private airstrip owned by Brueggeman.
“I don’t think the law is on his side (Atty. Stoddard’s),” said Mark Jacobson, director of business development for Invenergy. “Anytime people try to challenge wind projects, wind prevails.”
Stoddard contends, however, that “it’s never as simple as characterizing it as wind vs. no wind,” and that the governmental procedure was incorrect as well as incomplete.
The town of Wilton has 21 days to veto the conditional use permit or it will automatically become valid. Bill Blackmore, site developer for Invenergy, said the company does not plan to apply for conditional use permits in additional towns.
By Keith Zukas
7 June 2007
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