Looking to make a fresh start with its wind turbine ordinance in light of state oversight of such ordinances, Calumet County Board supervisors last Tuesday repealed the first five sections of its existing wind ordinance.
The ordinance which was presented for repeal last week was in place in August 2009 when the Wisc. Stat. §66.0401 (whereby the state maintains presiding authority over wind energy facilities) declared the county’s ordinance to be beyond its powers. The County Board has been addressing this ordinance as the need arises.
Supervisor Alice Connors said after the meeting that the board’s actions allow it to view Chapter 79 and the applicable articles of the wind ordinance with a fresh slate. Even though the board had to repeal the ordinance as written-except where not specifically repealed-there is still a moratorium in effect to protect the board.
“There was a lot of discussion on the floor. By having repealed the Chapter 79 ordinance, there was a scare that we had nothing to protect us, but we have moratorium until April,” Connors said.
The moratorium is giving the board time to work with the county’s Planning and Zoning Department on the issue.
Confirming the action taken as described by Connors, Supervisor Duaine Stillman said that it was the existing ordinance that was repealed and is giving new life to the consideration of wind energy as an option. “A new ordinance will be drafted when Planning and Zoning comes up with new regulations,” he said.
Connors indicated that new processes will be needed as Planning and Zoning moves forward to create an ordinance with wind energy facility regulations that will be acceptable given Public Service Commission requirements. “We will have to have a whole new application process and we are working on that as well,” Connors said.
As for how state government will affect county government, both Connors and Stillman indicated that with new governance in Madison, time will tell what the future will hold. “With a new governor, things may change there also. We’ll wait and see,” Stillman said.
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