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Calumet County will let courts decide turbine setback  

Calumet County’s rules on siting wind turbines won’t change as long as the lawsuit a group of property owners has filed against the county is pending.

The county’s Planning and Zoning Committee on Thursday declined to discuss proposals that would increase the setbacks for wind turbines to 1,000 feet from a property lines and add a setback from helipads.

EcoEnergy LLC plans to build 49 two-megawatt turbines in the towns of Chilton and Rantoul. Midwest Wind Energy proposes a similar number for the towns of Stockbridge and Brothertown.

The intended turbines would stand about 400 feet tall, or three times the height of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans’ former headquarters on College Avenue in downtown Appleton. The We Energies’ turbines on U.S. 41 south of Fond du Lac are about 290 feet tall.

Twenty-four property owners sued the county last year, alleging its wind ordinance, which requires a 1,000-foot setback between turbines and homes, schools and churches, but not businesses, fails to protect property owners equally.

“I don’t want to muddy the waters,” Supv. Chester Dietzen said. “Let the courts take care of it.”

The case is pending before a federal court in Green Bay.

Appleton Post-Crescent

3 August 2007

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