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Lawsuit Dismantles IA Wind Turbines

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

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A lawsuit filed by Fairbank, Iowa, residents has resulted in the dismantling of three wind turbines, stemming from a judge’s order that has only happened once before nationally, and is a first for the state.

All three 450-foot-tall towers, originally built in 2015 for $11 million, have to be torn down by Dec. 9, according to reports. One has already been dismantled.

Wind Turbine Lawsuit

According to The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, the courts ruled that the project was completed in violation of Fayette County zoning laws. Mason Wind, Dante Wind 6, Galileo Wind 1 and Venus Wind 4 built the turbines three years ago, once the companies had convinced zoning officials that special permits or zoning action were not necessary for energy transmission equipment.

Fairbank City Council members filed a lawsuit against both the project and the county, citing a fear that the towers would have a negative impact on the town’s growth. Another, separate lawsuit was also filed by Woods Construction, a company working on developing a residential area near the wind farm.

Fayette County District Court Judge John Bauercamper ruled that the turbines were a zoning violation. Earlier this year, the wind companies were found to be in contempt of court, which resulted in the wind turbine removal deadline. If not removed, the companies would face criminal penalties.

More recently, the companies sought to legalize the project by requesting a variance from the Fayette County Board of Adjustment. In June, the board denied the variance. More recently, the variance was appealed to the district court.

Recent Ruling

The Iowa Supreme Court most recently declined to hear the case, which forced the developers to dismantle the turbines. According to the Des Moines Register, taking down the turbines will cost roughly $450,000, or $150,000 for each.

Brett Dublinske, an attorney representing the companies, noted that he is unsure whether the dismantled turbines will find a new home, going on to add that this was one of the big concerns. “Having obtained the proper authorization ... to have this end up in millions of dollars of waste is unfortunate and unfair.”

The state of Iowa gets 37 percent of its electricity from wind energy, the largest share in the U.S.



Tagged categories: Government; Lawsuits; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Wind Farm; Wind Towers

Comment from Robert Bullard, (11/28/2018, 8:22 PM)

In the early 1980's, a few years after PURPA became Federal law, it was used by a homeowner in Ormond Beach, Florida to overturn in Federal court the application of a local zoning ordinance which prohibited the installation of a wind generator on his single family residential home, limiting his use of a wind generator only to the extent of setbacks (at grade and aerial) from property lines. I recall the owner's last name was DelMarco, a physician.

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