Town has 'no power' to block wind farm, developer says
by Scott Williams
February 8, 2010 A wind farm developer has cautioned town of Holland officials that their moratorium on construction of wind farms is not legally enforceable.
Invenergy LLC, which is seeking state approval for a wind farm in southern Brown County, also questions Holland's toughened setback requirements for wind turbines.
"Regardless of the town's desire to enact such a moratorium or setbacks, it has no power to do so," Invenergy attorney Peter Gardon wrote in a six-page letter dated Feb. 4.
The Holland Town Board voted Feb. 1 to impose a one-year moratorium on wind farm construction so that residents could have more time to study and debate the Invenergy plan.
The Chicago-based company wants to build 22 wind turbines in Holland, as well as 78 more in the neighboring towns of Morrison, Wrightstown and Glenmore.
It would be the first major commercial wind farm in Brown County and the largest in Wisconsin.
An opposition group called Brown County Citizens for Responsible Wind Energy has urged Holland and the other towns to enact moratoriums.
Holland trustees also voted to extend from 1,000 feet to 2,640 feet - equal to a half-mile - the distance required between any wind turbine and nearby residences.
At the time, town leaders acknowledged that their efforts might not affect the project. But they said they hoped to send a message to the state Public Service Commission, which has not yet decided whether to approve Invenergy's plan.