DIXON – Lee County’s moratorium on new wind farms expired Tuesday, but some county board members argued for extending it.
The board didn’t vote on the issue at its monthly meeting.
The board enacted the moratorium in September, after residents urged changes to the decade-old wind farm ordinance. An ad hoc committee has been reviewing the rules the last few months.
Some residents oppose wind turbines near their homes, saying they’re noisy and unsightly. Others consider them a boon to economic development, bringing more tax revenue to government agencies.
Last week, the county Properties Committee recommended against extending the moratorium.
On Tuesday, some county board members, including Dick Binder, Judy Truckenbrod and Mariliyn Shippert, urged continuing the moratorium.
“Why can’t we discuss it now?” Shippert asked.
“It’s a dead issue,” replied Lee County Board Chairman Jim Seeberg, who opposes the moratorium, saying it infringes on property rights.
He said it would be up to the Properties Committee to determine whether the issue would be sent to the full board.
Binder objected, saying the board enacted the moratorium and had an obligation to consider proposals to continue it.
Seeberg suggested the board could take up the issue at next month’s meeting. But other members wondered how the county would handle wind farm applications in the meantime.
Seeberg responded that he would have the county not take any.
“Is that legal?” board member Allyn Buhrow asked.
“Who knows?” Seeberg said.
Chris Henkel, Lee County’s zoning administrator, said that he had to accept applications but that he could advise applicants to wait.
Under the state Open Meetings Act, the board would need to put the moratorium on a meeting agenda before it acted upon it. It wasn’t on Tuesday’s agenda.
It wasn’t clear whether the board planned to revisit the issue in March.
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