OPPOSITION STRONG AT PROPOSED WIND FARM MEETING
Written by Dan Benson
July 25, 2012
TOWN OF SHERMAN — About 150 people showed up to learn more about a proposed wind farm in the Town of Sherman and most of them didn’t like what they heard.
“Looking at the number of people who are here tonight, the question the board should be asking is, ‘How do we stop it?’” said Jim Bertram, of Adell. “We want to know how we can stop it.”
The town is in the process of drafting a wind ordinance and related wind siting roles in light of a proposed commercial wind farm there.
The town, however, is hamstrung by state law in how strict they can make those rules.
“The town can’t be any stricter than the rules the state came up with,” attorney Matt Parmentier told the audience. Parmentier was retained by the town to draft the ordinance.
Hubertus-based EEW Services, LLC, is proposing to build a nine- to-12 megawatt wind farm on a 400-acre property east of state Highway 57, west of county Highway CC and north of county Highway A in the Town of Sherman. The turbine blades would reach as high as 500 feet and connect to a substation in the Town of Holland.
The developer has indicated that it intends to submit a formal application to begin construction next year on the Windy Acres Wind Farm.
The board did not take any action at Tuesday’s meeting, which was held at the Silver Creek Fire Hall, but heard from about two dozen people. Parmentier also shared details of the proposed ordinance, which cannot exceed state regulations regarding set backs and other factors. If the town’s ordinance is more stringent than state rules, then the ordinance would be declared invalid and the project would be automatically approved.
That was a sore point with many in the audience, saying the law was an affront to local control and property owners’ rights and will lower property values.
“He (the developer) is basically stealing my property,” said John Hayes, who lives near the proposed development. “I feel like they’re stealing from me.”
Parmentier said the application for the wind farm has not yet been received.
State regulations went into effect in March and the Town of Sherman project is one of the first to be considered under the new rules.
“We’re sort of the guinea pigs in this instance,” Parmentier said.
Speakers urged the Town Board to stretch out the process as long as possible in hopes of defeating the project, possibly through legislative action in Madison.
Several local representatives were on hand, including Rep. Mike Endsley (R-Sheboygan), Rep. Dan LeMahieu (R-Cascade), Sen. Glenn Grothmann (R-West Bend) and Sen. Joe Leibham (R-Sheboygan).