Supreme Court denies Calumet County wind turbine review

Posted on November 18, 2009. Filed under: Wind |


From an article by Jim Collar in the Appleton Post- Crescent:

CHILTON — Calumet County supervisors jumped the gun on new wind turbine rules this summer even while asking the state Supreme Court to consider whether its old ordinance met legal muster.

A denial from Wisconsin’s justices will now require the county to put that early work to action.

The state Supreme Court on Friday denied Calumet County’s petition for review of an appeals court decision that invalidated the county’s wind turbine rules. The ordinance dictated setbacks and maximum heights and sound levels for all turbine construction within its zoning jurisdiction.

Wisconsin’s 2nd District Court of Appeals struck down the ordinance in July, saying each proposed project has to be reviewed on its own merits. . . .

Chester Dietzen, chairman of the county’s planning, zoning and farmland preservation committee, said supervisors made good use of their time since asking the Supreme Court for review. The committee already held a public hearing on proposed ordinance changes, which clears the path to forward compliant rules to the county board for consideration.

“We’re ahead of the game,” he said.

The decision stemmed from a 2006 lawsuit filed against Calumet County by a Town of Stockbridge farmer who sought to add four turbines to his property. The county, however, placed a moratorium on construction after Marvin Ecker Jr. declared his intention, and then passed the ordinance that tightened requirements.

The appeals court found the County Board overstepped its authority. . . .

A new ordinance will also become moot in time due to a newly passed law that directed the state’s Public Service Commission to draft statewide regulations for turbine placement.

While those rules will override local ordinances, Dietzen said passage of a new ordinance would protect county interests in the meantime.

Dietzen said it could be up to a year before the statewide rules are enacted.

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