66.0401 (4) Local procedure.
(a) 1. Subject to subd. 2., a political subdivision 20
that receives an application for approval shall determine whether it is complete and, 21
no later than 45 days after the application is filed, notify the applicant about the 22
determination. As soon as possible after receiving the application for approval, the 23
political subdivision shall publish a class 1 notice, under ch. 985, stating that an 24
application for approval has been filed with the political subdivision. If the political 25
subdivision determines that the application is incomplete, the notice shall state the
reason for the determination. An applicant may supplement and refile an 2
application that the political subdivision has determined to be incomplete. There is 3
no limit on the number of times that an applicant may refile an application for 4
approval. If the political subdivision fails to determine whether an application for 5
approval is complete within 45 days after the application is filed, the application 6
shall be considered to be complete.
2. If a political subdivision that receives an application for approval under 8
subd. 1. does not have in effect an ordinance described under par. (g), the 45-day time 9
period for determining whether an application is complete, as described in subd. 1., 10
does not begin until the first day of the 4th month beginning after the political 11
subdivision receives the application. A political subdivision may notify an applicant 12
at any time, after receipt of the application and before the first day of the 4th month 13
after its receipt, that it does not intend to enact an ordinance described under par. 14
3. On the same day that an applicant makes an application for approval under 16
subd. 1. for a wind energy system the applicant shall mail or deliver written notice 17
of the application to the owners of land adjoining the site of the wind energy system.
4. A political subdivision may not consider an applicant's minor modification 19
to the application to constitute a new application for the purposes of this subsection.
(b) A political subdivision shall make a record of its decision making on an 21
application for approval, including a recording of any public hearing, copies of 22
documents submitted at any public hearing, and copies of any other documents 23
provided to the political subdivision in connection with the application for approval. 24
The political subdivision's record shall conform to the commission's rules 25
promulgated under s. 196.378 (4g) (c) 2.
(c) A political subdivision shall base its decision on an application for approval 2
on written findings of fact that are supported by the evidence in the record under par. 3
(b). A political subdivision's procedure for reviewing the application for approval 4
shall conform to the commission's rules promulgated under s. 196.378 (4g) (c) 3.
(d) Except as provided in par. (e), a political subdivision shall approve or 6
disapprove an application for approval no later than 90 days after the day on which 7
it notifies the applicant that the application for approval is complete. If a political 8
subdivision fails to act within the 90 days, or within any extended time period 9
established under par. (e), the application is considered approved.
(e) A political subdivision may extend the time period in par. (d) if, within that 11
90-day period, the political subdivision authorizes the extension in writing. Any 12
combination of the following extensions may be granted, except that the total amount 13
of time for all extensions granted under this paragraph may not exceed 90 days:
1. An extension of up to 45 days if the political subdivision needs additional 15
information to determine whether to approve or deny the application for approval.
2. An extension of up to 90 days if the applicant makes a material modification 17
to the application for approval.
3. An extension of up to 90 days for other good cause specified in writing by the 19
(f) 1. Except as provided in subd. 2., a political subdivision may not deny or 21
impose a restriction on an application for approval unless the political subdivision 22
enacts an ordinance that is no more restrictive than the rules the commission 23
promulgates under s. 196.378 (4g) (b).
2. A political subdivision may deny an application for approval if the proposed 25
site of the large wind energy system is in an area primarily designated for future
residential or commercial development, as shown in a map that is adopted, as part 2
of a comprehensive plan, under s. 66.1001 (2) (b) and (f), before June 2, 2009, or as 3
shown in such maps after December 31, 2015, as part of a comprehensive plan that 4
is updated as required under s. 66.1001 (2) (i).
(g) A political subdivision that chooses to regulate wind energy systems shall 6
enact an ordinance, subject to sub. (6) (b), that is no more restrictive than the 7
applicable standards established by the commission in rules promulgated under s. 8
66.0401 (5) Public service commission review.
(a) A decision of a political 11
subdivision to determine that an application is incomplete under sub. (4) (a) 1., or to 12
approve, disapprove, or impose a restriction upon a wind energy system, or an action 13
of a political subdivision to enforce a restriction on a wind energy system, may be 14
appealed only as provided in this subsection.
(b) 1. Any aggrieved person seeking to appeal a decision or enforcement action 16
specified in par. (a) may begin the political subdivision's administrative review 17
process. If the person is still aggrieved after the administrative review is completed, 18
the person may file an appeal with the commission. No appeal to the commission 19
under this subdivision may be filed later than 30 days after the political subdivision 20
has completed its administrative review process. For purposes of this subdivision, 21
if a political subdivision fails to complete its administrative review process within 90 22
days after an aggrieved person begins the review process, the political subdivision 23
is considered to have completed the process on the 90th day after the person began 24
2. Rather than beginning an administrative review under subd. 1., an 2
aggrieved person seeking to appeal a decision or enforcement action of a political 3
subdivision specified in par. (a) may file an appeal directly with the commission. No 4
appeal to the commission under this subdivision may be filed later than 30 days after 5
the decision or initiation of the enforcement action.
3. An applicant whose application for approval is denied under sub. (4) (f) 2. 7
may appeal the denial to the commission. The commission may grant the appeal 8
notwithstanding the inconsistency of the application for approval with the political 9
subdivision's planned residential or commercial development if the commission 10
determines that granting the appeal is consistent with the public interest.
(c) Upon receiving an appeal under par. (b), the commission shall notify the 12
political subdivision. The political subdivision shall provide a certified copy of the 13
record upon which it based its decision or enforcement action within 30 days after 14
receiving notice. The commission may request of the political subdivision any other 15
relevant governmental records and, if requested, the political subdivision shall 16
provide such records within 30 days after receiving the request.
(d) The commission may confine its review to the records it receives from the 18
political subdivision or, if it finds that additional information would be relevant to 19
its decision, expand the records it reviews. The commission shall issue a decision 20
within 90 days after the date on which it receives all of the records it requests under 21
par. (c), unless for good cause the commission extends this time period in writing. 22
If the commission determines that the political subdivision's decision or enforcement 23
action does not comply with the rules it promulgates under s. 196.378 (4g) or is 24
otherwise unreasonable, the political subdivision's decision shall be superseded by 25
the commission's decision and the commission may order an appropriate remedy.
(e) In conducting a review under par. (d), the commission may treat a political 2
subdivision's determination that an application under sub. (4) (a) 1. is incomplete as 3
a decision to disapprove the application if the commission determines that a political 4
subdivision has unreasonably withheld its determination that an application is 5
(f) Judicial review is not available until the commission issues its decision or 7
order under par. (d). Judicial review shall be of the commission's decision or order, 8
not of the political subdivision's decision or enforcement action. The commission's 9
decision or order is subject to judicial review under ch. 227. Injunctive relief is 10
available only as provided in s. 196.43.
66.0401 (6) Applicability of a county ordinance.
(a) 1. A county ordinance 13
enacted under sub. (2) applies only to the towns in the county that have not enacted 14
an ordinance under sub. (2).
2. If a town enacts an ordinance under sub. (2) after a county has enacted an 16
ordinance under sub. (2), the county ordinance does not apply, and may not be 17
enforced, in the town, except that if the town later repeals its ordinance, the county 18
ordinance applies in that town.
(b) 1. Subject to subd. 2., a county ordinance enacted under sub. (4) applies only 20
in the unincorporated parts of the county.
2. If a town enacts an ordinance under sub. (4), either before or after a county 22
enacts an ordinance under sub. (4), the more restrictive terms of the 2 ordinances 23
apply to the town, except that if the town later repeals its ordinance, the county 24
ordinance applies in that town.
AB256-ASA1, s. 9
66.0403 (1) (m) of the statutes is amended to read:
(m) "Wind energy system" means equipment and associated
that converts convert
and then stores store
or transfers transfer
from the wind into usable forms of energy.
AB256-ASA1, s. 10
196.378 (4) (title) of the statutes is repealed and recreated to read:
(title) Renewable resource rules.
196.378 (4g) Wind siting rules.
(a) In this subsection:
1. "Application for approval" has the meaning given in s. 66.0401 (1e) (a).
2. "Political subdivision" means a city, village, town, or county.
3. "Wind energy system" has the meaning given in s. 66.0403 (1) (m).
(b) The commission shall promulgate rules that specify the restrictions a 12
political subdivision may impose on the installation or use of a wind energy system 13
consistent with the conditions specified in s. 66.0401 (1m) (a) to (c). The subject 14
matter of these rules may include visual appearance, lighting, electrical connections 15
to the power grid, setback distances, maximum audible sound levels, shadow flicker, 16
proper means of measuring noise, interference with radio, telephone, or television 17
signals, decommissioning, or other matters. A political subdivision may not place a 18
restriction on the installation or use of a wind energy system that is more restrictive 19
than these rules.
(c) In addition to the rules under par. (b), the commission shall promulgate 21
rules that do all of the following:
1. Specify the information and documentation to be provided in an application 23
for approval to demonstrate that a proposed wind energy system complies with rules 24
promulgated under par. (b)
2. Specify the information and documentation to be included in a political 2
subdivision's record of decision under s. 66.0401 (4) (b).
3. Specify the procedure a political subdivision shall follow in reviewing an 4
application for approval under s. 66.0401 (4).
4. Specify the requirements and procedures for a political subdivision to enforce 6
the restrictions allowed under par. (b).
(dg) In making a determination under par. (d) that applies to a large 9
electric generating facility, if the large electric generating facility is a wind energy 10
system, as defined in s. 66.0403 (1) (m), the commission shall consider whether 11
installation or use of the facility is consistent with the standards specified in the 12
rules promulgated by the commission under s. 196.378 (4g) (b).
(1) Advisory committee; public hearings.
(a) In this subsection:
1. "Political subdivision" means a city, village, town, or county.
2. "Wind energy system" has the meaning given in section 66.0403 (1) (m) of 18
the statutes, as affected by this act.
(b) Before the public service commission may promulgate the rules required 20
under section 196.378 (4g) of the statutes, as created by this act, the commission shall 21
establish an advisory committee under section 227.13 of the statutes, composed of 22
a member of the University of Wisconsin faculty who offers expertise in the issues 23
to be addressed by the advisory committee and representatives of wind energy 24
system developers, political subdivisions, energy groups, environmental groups, 25
realtors, landowners who live adjacent to or in the vicinity of wind energy systems
and who have not received compensation by or on behalf of owners of, operators of, 2
or developers of wind energy systems, and the public, to advise the commission on 3
The public service commission shall hold at least 2 public hearings prior to 5
promulgating the rules required under section 196.378 (4g) of the statutes, as 6
created by this act. The public service commission shall hold at least one of the 7
hearings in Monroe County and at least one of the hearings in an area outside of 8
Dane County and Monroe County in which developers have proposed wind energy 9
10(2) Department of natural resources study.
The department of natural 11
resources shall conduct a study to determine whether the department's statutory 12
authority is sufficient to adequately protect wildlife and the environment from any 13
adverse effect from the siting, construction, or operation of wind energy systems. In 14
conducting the study, the department shall consider the authority of other state 15
agencies and political subdivisions to regulate the environmental impact of wind 16
energy systems, including the authority of the public service commission under 17
section 196.491 (3) (d) 3. and 4. of the statutes and of political subdivisions under 18
section 66.0401 (1m) and (4) (g) of the statutes, as affected by this act. On or before 19
the first day of the 13th month beginning after the effective date of this subsection, 20
the department shall submit a report containing the results of the study to the 21
legislature in the manner provided under section 13.172 (2) of the statutes. If the 22
department's study concludes that the department's statutory authority is not 23
sufficient to adequately protect wildlife and the environment from any adverse effect 24
from the siting, construction, or operation of wind energy systems, the report shall
include recommendations to the legislature for a bill that provides the department 2
with such authority.
(1) The public service commission review process for a political subdivision's 5
decision or enforcement action under section 66.0401 (5) of the statutes, as created 6
by this act, first applies to a local decision or action that is issued or initiated after 7
the public service commission's rules under section 196.378 (4g) of the statutes, as 8
created by this act, take effect.
(2) The treatment of section 196.491 (3) (dg) of the statutes, as created by this 10
act, first applies to applications for certificates of public convenience and necessity 11
that are received after the public service commission's rules under section 196.378 12
(4g) of the statutes, as created by this act, take effect.