***TOWN OF MENASHA***

PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING

WEDNESDAY, JULY 19th, 2006 at 5:00 PM

MUNICIPAL COMPLEX - 2000 MUNICIPAL DRIVE

 

CALL TO ORDER: Chairperson Bellmer called the Planning Commission Meeting of July 19, 2006 to order at 5:00 PM.

 

PRESENT:       Chairperson:                 Alvin Bellmer

Commissioners:            Dennis Jochman            Aaron Sabel                 Kris Koeppe(5:02)
Terry Buck                   Michelle Schaetz           Michael Van Dyke

Staff:                            George Dearborn, Community Development Director

Mark Mommaerts, Associate Planner

                                                            Jackie Winkel, Intern

 

EXCUSED:      None

 

ABSENT:        None

 

ALSO PRESENT:       Jon Martzahl                 Brian Williams              Matt Everett

                                    Rene Everett                 Thomas Newton                       Kelly Rousseau

                                    Kate McQuillan            Michael King                            Sheley Seisen

                                    Roger Seisen                Jim Beasom                              Judy Beasom

                                    Paul Eisen                    

 

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE:

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES – June 21, 2006

The minutes of June were reviewed.  Motion by Chairperson Bellmer, seconded by Commissioner Van Dyke to approve the minutes of the June 21, 2006 meeting.  Motion carried 6-0-1(Commissioner Koeppe).

 

COST BENEFIT ANALYSIS

The cost-benefit table for June shows that there is a positive cost/benefit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW ITEMS OF BUSINESS:

  1. Conditional Use Permit – Kelly Rousseau – 2225 & 2235 Northern Road – 008-0101-03

Department of Community Development Director George Dearborn introduced the item and stated that the reason for the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) is because of the energy production.

 

Chairperson Bellmer asked about the process for the CUP.

 

Director Dearborn stated that the Plan Commission makes a recommendation to the Town Board, which can approve, deny or modify the Plan Commission recommendation.  The final decision is made at the County level for approval or denial.

 

Tom Newton, co-applicant, stated that the existing building is heavy duty and would support the weight of the turbines.  He stated that this is a demonstration project to teach the 17,000 members of the organization and that the location is ideal because of Hwy 41 and the traffic it carries.  He also stated that the system centers around wind turbines, but uses bio-diesel and used vegetable oil as fuel. 

 

Chairperson Bellmer asked the height of the turbines and the other uses on site.

 

Mr. Newton responded that the turbines would be 120’ tall, measured from grade, which is 70’ below the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) limits and that they would be banded together pointing inward so it is impossible to fall outward and that there would be minimal noise.  He also stated that they will have a school bus that runs on vegetable oil that will be used to pick up used vegetable oil from restaurants around the area and that there are 87% less emissions with bio-diesel that regular diesel.

 

Chairperson Bellmer asked about the size of the site, zoning, and stormwater requirements.

 

Director Dearborn stated permanent buildings will have to be identified on the site plan and any new impervious surface added would have to meet the stormwater requirements.

 

Jim Beasom, of Northern Road, asked about the human waste component of the project.

 

Mr. Newton replied that they would like to work out an agreement with the sewerage plant, but that is phase 3 and this is only phase 1.

 

Mr. Beasom stated that the treatment does this and asked about the steam generator.

 

Mr. Newton replied that the treatment plant has a problem getting rid of it and that they can do it for them.  He also stated that the steam is a co-generation.  The steam is used in composting, wood kiln and digestor.  There is no discharge and no cooling towers.

 

Brian Williams, attorney representing Matt Everett, stated that the applicant is incorrect in regards to the addresses.  He stated that the address 2225 is the address for his clients building.  He also stated that the application needs to be filled out by the owners, not Soul Purpose Ministry.  He also stated that this is a pre-mature application and that more information should be provided by the applicant for the following issues.  One, as a demonstration project 1 or 2 turbines, but 36 is not a demonstration.  Secondly, the biomass digestor, what goes in and what comes out?  Thirdly, bid-diesel still produces smoke and particulants and there are emissions.  Fourthly, local, state and federal requirements, how are they going to meet these?  Fifthly, how will the project sit on the site?  Sixthly, safety concerns regarding the electrical system.  Seventhly, infrastructure and new construction?

 

He also stated that there are drawbacks to renewable energies, such as the affect of wind turbines on migratory birds and bats.  He stated that the Fond du Lac and Dodge County projects are on hold because of this.  He expressed concern over off-gassing and odors and smoke issues from the wood chip steam boiler.  He also stated that no contact has been made to the DNR, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, EPA, FAA, and Outagamie County and that wind turbines affect radar.

 

Chairperson Bellmer stated that this is a concept review and that staff would review more detailed information as part of the Site Plan Review.

 

Director Dearborn stated that the addresses are correct and that the applications are made to the County.  He also stated that codes are enforced by the Building Inspector and others and that any industrial user can do this on their site and that the CUP is for the wind turbines.  He also stated that the commission could add a condition regarding the migratory wildlife.

 

Commissioner Schaetz stated that the DNR does not have any oversight on this and that there is little regulation on wind turbines, only for the large ones like the Fond du Lac and Dodge County sites.  She stated that there would be a Public Service Commission review and that the guy wires are an issue and more information should be provided on the guy wires.

 

Paul Eisen, of Brighton Beach Road and County Supervisor District 27, expressed concerns over the taxes, infrastructure, hazardous waste potential, and special services for water and sewer.

 

Kate McQuillan, Whipletree Lane and Town Board Supervisor, expressed concern over vibration and inquired about other demonstration locations that can be used as an example and if the project will be an energy producer.

 

Mr. Newton responded that the site will be open year round for tours and that it will not produce enough energy to send any off-site. He also stated that with the larger turbines, there are some vibrations, but these are small there won’t be any vibrations.  He also stated that they have contacts with the EPA out of Chicago and DNR.

 

Matt Everett, of EA Properties (property to the South), stated that the property is a garbage dump with unregistered vehicles and that trees have been cut and that he opposes the CUP.

 

Commissioner Van Dyke was excused at 6:05.

 

Chairperson Bellmer stated that some of the issues sound like ordinance violations and that there are emissions requirements and that owners are allowed to cut trees.  He also asked the applicant about the various phases of the project.

 

Mr. Newton responded that they have been working with WE Energies on the project and that WE Energies wants them to produce excess energy for the green credits and because Great Northern is next door.  He stated that phase 1 will include the bus, wind turbines, and the bio-diesel vegetable oil.  Phase 2 is photovoltaic cells and more energy education.  Phase 3 is the larger bio-diesel process and generators.  Phase 4 involves the methane which will be used to get the digestor going.  He also stated that this site is ideal because of the traffic on Hwy 41 and the proximity to the sewerage facility.

 

John Martzahl, of Great Northern, expressed concern over the aesthetics and numerous unanswered questions.

 

Chairperson Bellmer expressed concern over the size of the site.

 

Mr. Martzahl asked if there would be on-site storage.

 

Mr. Newton replied that there would be no on-site storage, any materials brought in would be used the same day.

 

Commissioner Jochman asked if there was a picture of the 36 turbines together.  He also asked about the structural stability of the building.  He also stated that since this application is for phase 1 the Plan Commission could approve this phase of the project and other phases could come back for a CUP.

 

Ms. McQuillian asked why 36 turbines.

 

Mr. Newton responded that 36 is used because of the geometric design and the structural strength. He also stated that there aren’t any other demonstrations like this in the U.S., but there are some in Haiti and other places.  He stated that the wind tunnel in this are is good.

 

Commissioner Schaetz asked when the community would have access to the site and also expressed concern over the guy wires.

 

Mr. Newton responded that it would be about a year before the tours would start for the public after it is built so that the members can go through it first.

 

Mr. Eisen asked what the present use of the property is and how it will change.

 

Kelly Rousseau, of ServPro, stated that his business is a water & fire restoration company.  He also stated that a landscaper stores some materials and truck on the site.

 

Chairperson Bellmer asked if these businesses will remain.

 

Mr. Eisen asked if the proposed project would be taxable.

 

Director Dearborn stated that the Plan Commission cannot approve or deny based on taxes.

 

Mr. Newton stated that they would be subleasing the property from the current owner.

 

Director Dearborn stated that there could be a condition that the Site Plan be brought back before the Plan Commission to address maintenance of the site and landscaping.

 

Ms. McQuillan asked if the CUP was renewable each year and what would happen if the conditions were not being met.

 

Director Dearborn stated that the CUP could be made specific to this owner.  He also stated that if there were violations of the CUP, then those issues would need to be addressed, if they were not, then the CUP would become void and the project would be shut down.

 

Associate Planner Mommaerts stated that the Town received a letter from the sand & gravel company stating they were in support of the project.

 

MOTION:  Chairperson Bellmer, seconded by Commissioner Buck to approve the Conditional Use Permit with the following conditions:

 

Motion carried 6-0-1 (Commissioner Van Dyke).

 

 

OLD ITEMS OF BUSINESS:

            None for this meeting.

 

OTHER BUSINESS:

  1. LIFE Survey Presentation.  www.foxcitieslifestudy.org 
  2. Development Report – The live/work units at Cottagewood Commons has started construction.
  3. Building Permit Report

 

COMMUNICATIONS:

  1. Safety at Urban Stormwater Ponds. Stormwater
  2. Detention Pond Fencing. www.apwa-wa.org/forums/Previous%20 Research%20Reports/ DetentionPondFencing.doc. October 22, 2002.

 

ADJOURNMENT:

MOTION:  Commissioner Jochman, seconded by Commissioner Schaetz to adjourn the meeting of July 19, 2006 at 7:30 PM.  Motion carried 6-0-1 (Commissioner Van Dyke).

 

 

 

Mark J. Mommaerts

Recording Secretary