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June 19, 2021

5/19/2021 9:41:00 AM
Zoning committee hears more wind project testimony

Even though those opposed to the Upland Wind Farm project being proposed for parts of Iowa and Lafayette counties there is one big obstacle when it comes to controlling or stopping it from appearing here.
That is PSC 128, the state's regulations that sets the controls for anything energy. No matter what the counties have for ordinances and policies they cannot be more restrictive than the state's.
But that doesn't mean those opposed won't try.
At Thursday's Iowa County Zoning meeting the last part was about the county ordinance governing wind projects.
The first speaker when committee chairman Curt Peterson called for questions about a fact sheet made available for those with questions who voiced concerns about asthenics with a group of towers dotting the landscape along with noise and stray electricity. Also questioned was what such a project would do to property values and tourist trade.
The answer came from Zoning Administrator Scott Godfrey who said "we can only regulate as what PSC 128 allows."
Peterson added that the questions being asked have to be answered by someone higher up than this committee.
Suggested was talking to Senator Howard Marklein along with Assemblymen Todd Novak and Travis Tranel as any changes would have to come from state legislation.
Dr. Gloria Belkin asked the committee if problems with local control have anything to do with Iowa County's lawsuit against the PSC and the ATC transmission project.
She was told that is a separate lawsuit.
Jean Luecke offered what she feels is a solution.
"Why not put in as much as the PSC ordinance contains?" she asked. "And include a request from the entire Iowa County Board to do what is best here."
A speaker identified as "Dena" asked if the ordinance addresses structure, groundwater and location.
"And how about the wetlands?" she added.
Godfrey commented that wetlands are a federal issue.
Dena also asked about controlling the decibel level to which Godfrey said the maximum during the day is 50 and the maximum in the evening is 45.
Chris Klopp asked for a review process that would make residents being contacted about using their land for the project aware beforehand. She said the public should have information available to learn what the project would entail.
"There could be information available from existing wind tower projects to show they meet the 50/45 decibel standard," Klopp said.
"What we can ask for is any information that would follow the ordinance," Godfrey said.
Rob Danielson of SOUL Wisconsin said the developer should be required to notify the county and landowners before introducing a project.
"That would be in the spirit of community," Danielson said.
Committee member Don Leix agreed.
"When we make changes to our property we notify our neighbors," he pointed out. "Why not with this?"
Leix also said he had knowledge of the project by Pattern Energy two years ago and brought it to the board's attention.
"No one had anything to say," Leix said.
Danielson pointed out that there could be something else dealing with energy come along and make this project obsolete, thus creating the need for information.
Often cited during the meeting is the need for a public information forum to generate questions and ideas.
"We need this before we are forced to manage migraine headaches and sleepless nights," Dena commented.

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