Manitowoc County wind ordinance curbs energy independence

Posted on August 13, 2008. Filed under: Energy Policy, Wind |


From an article by Kristopher Wenn in the Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter:

SCHLESWIG — Jim Bauhs says he can’t understand why it’s so difficult for him to install a wind turbine on his own property.

Bauhs and his wife, Nancy, said they moved to their town of Schleswig home more than decade ago to get away from the “crazy world” of New York.

The couple’s 15-acre property west of Wisconsin 67 and south of Manitowoc County X is heaven but the winds blow so bloody hard the couple rarely can use their deck, Bauhs said.

Bauhs wanted to make use of the wind by installing a 51-foot wind turbine to power his home before the end of the year.

“I’m not a crazy ‘green’ person, but I like to do what makes sense,” Bauhs said of his “hobby” in wind turbines that could bring him a slight energy cost savings.

Bauhs was notified by his Town Board his project needed approval by the Manitowoc County Planning and Parks Commission.

He said that’s when he came into “all of these stumbling blocks” with a Manitowoc County ordinance he finds so restrictive he doesn’t see how anyone could comply with it.

“It’s over-regulated,” he said of the ordinance. “It’s a financial burden for something that is the height of a silo.”

Jeff Nichols of Cato installed a 100-foot wind turbine on his property years before the county’s ordinance took effect with little public attention and no complaints from neighbors.

Nichols’ turbine was grandfathered in despite being installed in a way that would be in violation of the county’s current regulations.

“With all of the restrictions put in place, I don’t see how anyone could put (a turbine) in,” Nichols said of the ordinance.

Mike Demske, director of the Manitowoc County Planning and Park Commission, said people who have called his office asking about installing a residential turbine often shelve their plans once they learn of the county’s regulations.

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