The Plan Commission on Tuesday waded through comments and suggestions for changes to the Glenmore wind ordinance offered by residents at a meeting last month, nixing some ideas and enhancing others.
The wind ordinance, adopted in December 2006, regulates spacing, setback distances and aesthetic qualities of turbines, as well as other things.
The June meeting, held roundtable style, aimed to take citizen input into consideration in fine-tuning the ordinance.
Among the changes the Plan Commission will recommend to the Town Board to adopt include:
# Reducing the time between complaint and inspection from 72 hours to 24.
# Including wording that makes it clear that once wind turbines are built, property owners can build near them. Previous wording established a 1,000-foot setback between inhabited structures and new wind turbines but did not discuss structures built after the wind turbines.
# Changing the security deposit from $4,000 to $20,000 per wind turbine as proof of financial assurance.
# Removing wording regarding spacing and density of wind turbines saying that they be separated by a sufficient distance so wind towers don’t interfere with each other.
Residents asked for around a dozen changes, many of which were not adopted, including making landowners responsible for problems with the turbines in the event that the wind-energy companies don’t rectify problems, charging an annual renewal fee for wind turbines and capping the number of wind turbines allowed in the town.
Residents suggested that stray-voltage testing be done by an independent company rather than Wisconsin Public Service.
So the commission established that the person requesting a private stray-voltage test would pay the company upfront and, if the wind turbine company is found to be at fault, be reimbursed by the company later.
Wisconsin statute says municipalities cannot place undue restrictions on wind-energy companies except for health or safety concerns.
By Lee Reinsch
11 July 2007
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