Press "Enter" to skip to content

Nunda Wind Project Blocked by Lack of Regulation

A few weeks ago, Shelli Gust helped me explain how the proposed update of Lake County's zoning ordinance actually increased land-use options. But 9.4% of the county electorate was more interested in poking fingers in various commissioners' eyes than in updating our legal language to deal with modern land uses... and only 2.6% of our electorate cared enough about zoning to vote for the update.

That misinformed and grudgeful Nay has now claimed its first victim. Plastic mogul and expert walleye angler Dan Palli is installing a wind turbine on his Nunda property. The foundation and fiber-optic lines are in place. The turbine is on his property. But because Lake County's old zoning rules don't authorize the construction of private wind energy systems, Palli can't erect the tower and set those blades spinning. The old rules only permit commercial wind turbines. The amended rules rejected by the voters would have let Palli continue his plan to use his property to achieve energy self-reliance (see New Conditional Use #4).

Now the county commission can still save Palli's plan by passing just the five and a half pages of regulations that dealt with wind-energy systems in the rejected zoning ordinance. Zoning officer Deb Reinecke tells MDL that process could take six weeks. That still gives time for Palli to take advantage of grants which will cover part of the project cost but which are available only through the end of this year. With money riding on the project, the county commission can't wait around; they need to act now.

Updating the zoning ordinance piecemeal will take more time, but MDL publisher Jon Hunter agrees that approach is better than leaving Palli and other enterprising landowners stuck in the past. A spate of cranky letter-writers have been warning the commissioners not to try "sneaking" any new zoning regulations past the March No-voters. But those voters who thought their Nay was standing up for property rights should throw their support behind new wind-energy zoning regulations that would give Palli and the rest of us more liberty to use our land the way we see fit.


  1. Wayne Pauli 2011.04.10

    I love irony CAH. We reap what we sow and honestly the no voters probably would have been against rural electrification back in the 50's. Although it did allow my folks to stop milking cows by hand, manually cranking the cream seperator, and buying block ice to keep the cream cool in the cellar till Friday which was egg and cream selling day at the creamery. Yeah, probably not good enough reasons to let the poles and lines cross our land.

  2. Stan Gibilisco 2011.04.11

    In my evolving dreams, ground-source heat pumps and photovoltaics have overtaken wind turbines as viable alternative-energy options for private citizens.

    Hopefully, in the coming months and years, I'll make enough money (and get to keep enough of it) to afford the up-front cost of relocating and installing such systems.

  3. joelie hicks 2011.04.11

    We put in a geo thermal heat system into our old house a few years ago. This was after many years of wood furnace/a little electric. The wood furnace had outlived it's usefulness and I lived in a parka except when I was in the kitchen cooking. G/T is wonderful, worth every penny.

  4. Ken Blanchard 2011.04.11

    Look at the bright side. A non-existent wind far operates at only 2-20% less capacity than an existing one, for most of the year.

Comments are closed.