MANITOWOC – County Board supervisors declined to support a request from town of Mishicot supervisors to enact a temporary moratorium on creation of any local wind farms.
Town supervisors wanted the board to prohibit installation of of industrial wind turbines in Manitowoc County until low frequency noise issues can be studied, identified and resolved.
However, Board Chairman Paul “Biff” Hansen referred the Tuesday night request to the county’s Planning & Park Commission. He said the state “holds most of the cards” when it comes to siting wind turbines and he doesn’t want to risk lawsuits against the county for trying to exercise restrictions without having the statutory authority to do so.
The county is in the process of drafting a revised wind turbine siting ordinance covering other issues than the minimum distance between towers and residents, which the state Public Service Commission has established at 1,250 feet.
But the release earlier this month of a study, paid for in part by the PSC, into noise levels around the Shirley Wind Farm in Brown County may be the catalyst for further study of potential negative health impacts following the installation of 500-foot tall industrial wind turbines.
A proposed wind farm would include six turbines in the town of Mishicot as part of the so-called “Beautiful Hill” project.
Town of Mishicot supervisors are asking for the county’s ordinance, currently being drafted, to address several concerns they would like to see incorporated including:
• Do noise pre-testing before wind farm construction to establish levels already existing in the environment;
• Establish guidelines for electrical pollution to protect farming operations and residents;
• Look at and establish guidelines for privacy issues, which may arise from surveillance cameras mounted on turbines;
• Make sure that adequate funds from the wind farm owner will be available for decommissioning;
During public input, several citizens voices their perspectives on wind farm development. Two expressed concerns that a county moratorium would harm Broadwind Towers & Heavy Industries, a Manitowoc-based manufacturer of the monopolies that have become part of wind farms in the U.S. and Canada.
Dean Anhalt, a town of Mishicot supervisor, said the No. 1 consideration when the county issues a conditional use permit should be maintenance of health and safety of residents.
He is convinced that wind turbines do cause some nearby residents to develop health issues and have prompted them to move out of their homes.
Supervisors approved Hansen’s appointment of Martha Rasmus to the 8th Supervisory District seat, on the north side of the city of Manitowoc. She replaces Paul Tittl who resigned in December after fall election to the state Assembly.
Hansen cited her expertise in mental health issues as a knowledge asset that would benefit supervisors during deliberations.
Rasmus, 67, retired as CEO of Mental Health of Wisconsin, based in Milwaukee. She has lived in the district for about four years.
“I am interested in the workings of county government and how we can best spend our county money wisely,” Rasmus said.
All 25 supervisor positions will be up for election in spring 2014 and Rasmus said she intends to seek election to a full two-year term.
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