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Wind farm developers sue county  

Portions of a county ordinance regulating the construction of wind farms make a proposed project “cost-prohibitive” and prevent the project from advancing, according to a civil suit filed recently against Manitowoc County.

Emerging Energies LLP, of Hubertus, filed the civil suit in Manitowoc County Circuit Court asking a judge to void 18 requirements in the ordinance because “they do not allow for an alternative (energy) system of comparable cost and efficiency.”

Emerging Energies is proposing a seven-turbine wind farm in the town of Mishicot. The plan has been met with criticism and in April the project was derailed after an opposition group won a civil suit filed to void a county conditional use permit granted to Emerging Energies.

Manitowoc County Circuit Judge Patrick Willis ruled that the county Board of Adjustment had failed to act “according to law” when the permit was approved because it did not apply the most recently amended version of the Manitowoc County Wind Energy Ordinance.

Emerging Energies filed its permit application in April 2005. A year later, the county Board of Supervisor’s approved an updated ordinance that took effect in May 2006.

Emerging Energies’ permit was granted in July 2006, using the ordinance in place when the application was submitted.

Willis said the Board of Adjustments must approve the permit using the new ordinance. Emerging Energies did not appeal Willis’ decision and reapplied for a new permit.

The new ordinance requires a 1,000-foot setback from a neighboring property line, a quarter-mile setback from conservancies, state or county forests, hunting areas, or parks, and a noise level not to exceed five decibels more than ambient sound.

“The requirements of the 2006 ordinance will significantly increase the cost to the plaintiff, significantly decrease the efficiency of the project, and do not serve to preserve or protect the public health and safety,” the civil suit says.

Edward J. Ritger, of Random Lake, represents Emerging Energies.

Manitowoc County Corporation Counsel Steven Rollins said he will discuss the lawsuit with the county’s Personnel Committee, which overseas the Corporation Counsel.

Rollins said he will file a written response to the suit soon after the Personnel Committee’s June meeting.

No court date has been set in the suit.

By Kevin Braley
Herald Times Reporter

htrnews.com

9 June 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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