The future of Monroe County wind turbines will be decided in court.
The Wilton Town Board unanimously denied the claim of Summit Ridge Energy that it had “exceeded its powers and jurisdiction” in vetoing the construction of a wind energy project. After Tuesday’s decision, the case will be heard by Judge McAlpine in Circuit Court.
“The claim is unfounded. There’s no merit to it,” said Wilton Chairman Rick Irwin. “It’s very clear in the ordinances that townships have the right to exercise a veto for a conditional use permit.”
The vote came after Ridgeville Township previously denied the same claim by a vote of 2-1 on Aug. 6, with Supervisor Charles Neumann as the only person to accept it. The Monroe County Board also unanimously denied it July 31.
Both claims against the towns have been consolidated into one case, with Tomah attorney Rob Mubarak defending Ridgeville and Wilton. The consolidation will save the towns legal fees, which will be largely supported by insurance, said Irwin.
“We had the right to veto the conditional use permit because of health and safety,” said Ridgeville Chairman Mike Luethe. “If there are any issues, you’re not going to allow such a big project to take place that will be there for 40 years.”
But Summit Ridge Energy won’t drop the case because of the denials, according to Bill Blackmore of Invenergy, parent company of Summit Ridge.
“No. We have a consolidated proceeding regarding the Ridgeville and Wilton vetoes and those proceedings are still going forward in circuit court,” said Blackmore. “We have until early 2008 to decide what to do on these claims. The decision of Judge McAlpine will determine the future.”
By Keith Zukas
16 August 2007
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