Decision halts wind farm project

Posted on December 10, 2008. Filed under: Wind |

From an article in the Tomah Journal:

A decision in Monroe County Circuit Court on Nov. 26 allows vetoes made by the Towns of Wilton and Ridgeville to stand, putting a halt to a proposed project to erect wind turbines in the townships.

A ruling by Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Michael McAlpine upholds the townships’ vetoes of conditional use permits (CUP) that were granted by the Monroe County Zoning Committee last year. McAlpine’s ruling also reverses a ruling of the Monroe County Board of Adjustment (BOA) which affirmed a CUP for the Town of Wells, which will cancel that CUP as well.

Summit Ridge Energy LLC filed for CUPs for the towns of Ridgeville, Wilton and Wells in Monroe County last year. The applications for Ridgeville and Wells were approved in April of 2007, and the application for Wilton was approved in June of that year.

The permits would have allowed the developers to build 60 wind turbines within the townships. Ridgeville vetoed the CUP May 2007 and Wilton did the same weeks later on June 12. Both townships cited several reasons for the vetoes, and both included that the CUP applications were incomplete. In response to the vetoes, Summit Ridge filed a lawsuit, claiming the vetoes were not legal. In the decision, McAlpine wrote that the failure of Summit Ridge to include the locations of buried transmission lines gave the townships the right to veto the CUPs. Summit Ridge and the BOA argued that underground lines are not required to be mapped, but McAlpine disagreed, writing that without the location of the transmission lines, neither the Zoning Committee nor the local municipalities would be positioned to grant an informed approval. McAlpine also wrote that a section of state statute does restrict the ability of the townships to exercise a veto, but the only thing either township could base a veto on is that of “preserving or protecting public health or safety.”


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