Town of Union “wasted” $40,000 on writing wind ordinance

Posted on August 4, 2009. Filed under: Wind |

From an article by Gina Duwe in the Janesville Gazette:

A recent Wisconsin appeals court ruling wipes away ordinances written in Union and Magnolia townships to regulate wind energy systems, experts say.

But the court ruling would be trumped if the state Legislature approves a bill to develop statewide siting standards.

“Even though we apparently wasted $40,000 coming up with an ordinance, I don’t think the money was completely wasted because I think we have solid, scientific facts that will give our community and the Union Town Board the basis for evaluating these proposals on a case-by-case basis,” said Tom Alisankus, who chaired Union’s wind study committee.

Although the ruling by the District 2 Court of Appeals in Ecker Brothers versus Calumet County applies statewide, the opinion is based on current law. If the proposed wind siting statute is approved, it would override the court ruling, experts say.

Meanwhile, Calumet County and the Wisconsin Counties Association plan to continue the fight in court with an appeal to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, said John Reinemann, legislative director of the counties association.

The judges said Calumet County could not use an ordinance to apply setback, height and other restrictions to all wind energy systems, he said.

The opinion reads: “We hold that this ‘one size fits all’ scheme violates the legislative idea that localities must look at each wind system on its own merits and decide, in each specific case, whether the wind system conflicts with public health or safety.”


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2 Responses to “Town of Union “wasted” $40,000 on writing wind ordinance”

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The ruling clearly states that siting can be controlled based on health and safety.

(1) AUTHORITY TO RESTRICT SYSTEMS LIMITED. No county, city, town, or village may place any restriction, either directly or in effect, on the installation or use of a … wind energy system, as defined in s. 66.0403 (1) (m), unless the restriction satisfies one of the following conditions:
(a) Serves to preserve or protect the public health or safety.

Just because Calumet Co. failed to make that connection doesn’t mean that the Town of Union can’t. The Town of Union ordinance is based on rock solid science and will stand up in Court.

Nothing has been wasted.

I didn’t say the money was wasted. Tom Alisankus, who chaired Union’s wind study committee, said it.

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