The Clay Banks Town Board approved a one-year interim ordinance controlling the establishment of wind turbines to give an attorney time to review the measure.
The ordinance adopted Thursday, June 14, places interim controls, limiting wind turbines to 170 feet in height, and regulating equipment that converts wind energy into electrical power for sale, resale or off-site use.
The measure, said Town Chairman Mike Johnson, will give the town a year to analyze revisions in the Door County wind ordinance to determine if it meets standards needed to protect residents and property owners.
The county Resource Planning Committee is expected to discuss that proposal June 21.
The interim controls will give the town time to assess the work of the RPC and Door County Board of Supervisors, Johnson said.
“If necessary,” Johnson said, “our proposed interim ordinance provides the town of Clay Banks time to formulate, publish, conduct hearings and adopt a town ordinance to provide the health and safety standards needed to protect the residents and property owners,.”
The eight-year-old county wind ordinance was adopted at a time when objectivity, rather than emotions, ruled the dialogue on the issue, Johnson said.
The state ordinance is less restrictive, he added, and changes being proposed would make the county rules less restrictive, too.
After contacting the Wisconsin Towns Association in April, Johnson said he was told by Executive Director Richard Stadelman that no standard wind control ordinance was in effect for towns, and that it was up to each town to create its own ordinance.
The WTA advice “is definitely in stark contrast to what we have been led to believe by others,” Johnson said. “Let’s take this analogy one step further because this also means that the county can create its own ordinance based on state statutes and not a model ordinance.”
Prior to the adoption of the interim control measure, some residents explained why they opposed a plan by Community Wind Energy LLC of Sturgeon Bay to install three 170-foot turbines in the town.
Opposition to the CWE proposal has been overwhelming, said Jeanne Rego, 1440 County Highway U.
Rego has collected 194 signatures on a petition opposing the CWE plan. The total population of the town is just over 400 people.
Ken Lehmann, 250 Lucerne Drive, Forestville, also said he was concerned about the CWE proposal. He also responded to criticism that the petition was one-sided.
“I’ve never heard of a petition that wasn’t one-sided,” Lehmann said. “It doesn’t really matter why they signed the petition. They said ‘No.’ It’s not rocket science. You look at these things, and you either want them or don’t want them.”
The town board agreed to retain Eau Claire attorney Glenn Stoddard, who has specialized in addressing wind power-related issues in Calumet, Manitowoc and other counties. Stoddard will be worth his $200 per hour fee because of his wealth of experience, Johnson said.
Johnson also appointed Tom Hintz, a teacher, to serve on the six-member town Windmill Planning Committee.
By Kurt Rentmeester
16 June 2007
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