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Orono Usurps Property Rights of All Residential Property Owners to Continue Wind Turbine Battle

The City of Orono has usurped the property rights of all residential property owners in Orono in their unpopular attempt to arbitrarily restrict the Nygards going green.

The Orono City Council passed Ordinance No. 96, Third Series, “An Interim Ordinance Temporarily Prohibiting Certain Accessory Structures and Uses” on November 13, 2012. This moratorium prohibits the installation by residents, or approval by city staff, of any accessory use or structure not presently regulated by the City of Orono code until September 1, 2013. This moratorium is written in such a manner that any existing and open building permit application related to non-listed accessory uses or structures, no matter when it was submitted (could be 20+ years old), cannot be approved by city staff. Basically, what this moratorium does is prevent any residential property owner from installing a mailbox, basketball hoop, light pole, clothesline, hot tub, etc., all summer long, during the building season. Even the title of this moratorium is a misnomer as the word “Certain” applies to an unlimited list of accessory uses not listed in the code. 

The City of Orono has once again filed for summary judgment against the Nygards and their Vertical Axis Wind Turbine, even though the city lost big at the Minnesota Court of Appeals and chose not pursue the matter to the Supreme Court. It is easy to deduce that the City of Orono passed the moratorium to use as an after the fact ordinance in order to perpetuate the continued unpopular prosecution of the Nygards. The Nygards have presented a petition to the Orono City Council in 2012 whereby 88% of the residents of Orono who were  approached signed the petition in favor of allowing the Nygards to have their Vertical Axis Wind Turbine.

Do we, as the residents of Orono or any other community, want our city to be playing games with our city code and our property rights as they continue to prosecute the Nygards for doing what they legally can do. How far will the city of Orono go in their continued attempts to prevent the Nygards from exercising their property rights? How many more thousands of dollars of taxpayer money will the city waste in a losing cause? We say that it is time to put an end to the nonsense going on up at city hall. The City of Orono needs to admit they were and are wrong, settle with the Nygards and compensate them for the over 2 years of grief they have had to endure.

We are listing the Orono official contact info below. We strongly urge Orono residents and others to contact the elected city officials in Orono and let them know that their vendetta against the Nygards has to stop and that all property rights of all Orono citizens need to be restored immediately!

Mayor Lili McMillan                         612-840-8484      lmcmillan@ci.orono.mn.us

Councilmember Kristi Anderson      612-743-4214      kanderson@ci.orono.mn.us

Councilmember Cynthia Bremer     952-473-9777     cbremer@ci.orono.mn.us

Councilmember Lizz Levang           952-476-4123      clevang@ci.orono.mn.us

Councilmember Aaron Printup        952-476-2051      aprintup@ci.orono.mn.us

City Administrator Jessica Loftus    952-249-4601      jloftus@ci.orono.mn.us

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Mike February 05, 2013 at 02:49 PM
Private property rights are among our most treasured. This is an absurd example of how zoning ordinances can be abused. The City of Orono has already lost. It is time for them to back off and allow the Nygards the opportunity to pursue this green energy solution.
Dale Howey February 05, 2013 at 03:22 PM
Another sad example of the abuse of power. We all must hold elected official responsible and call on this. Call them until they have to disconnect their lines. Call them on it until they are shamed into compliance with the rights of their constituents.
Patrick Fitzgerald February 05, 2013 at 10:52 PM
Exceptions are listed as Orono City Code Sections 78-229, 78-254, 78-304, 78-329, 78-349, 78-368, 78-394, 78-419, and 78-443. Some Allowed Accessories are Satellite Dishes , radio antennas, Pools, Tennis Courts, Signs, Parking areas, etc. Not seen are Gazebos, Hot-Tubs, PlayGround Equips,, LawnEquipSheds, Firepits, etc. Read Your Zone at http://library.municode.com/index.aspx?clientId=13094&stateId=23&stateName=Minnesota
jay nygard February 06, 2013 at 12:26 PM
That is the whole point of my blog. The City of Orono has a small number of accessory uses and structures that it will allow, item that it has chosen needs regulation over the years so that they can be controlled properly. Orono has had 12-14 years since the last wind turbine application to decide if renewables technologies need controlling or can be installed at will throughout the city, They chose not to control them. Now, in an attempt to stop us from excersizing our rights under the existing code, Orono has written an moratorium that affects everybody with an infinite list of items that they can no longer install on their property. The infinite list includes everything that the City of Orono cannot think of. How nuts is that??? And the city staff complaimns that I am hard to work with. Maybe it is time that they actually learn how to apply their code and do their jobs instead of running around blaming a citizen for their inability to understand how to run a city.
Scott February 09, 2013 at 01:40 PM
Once again, an example of the few, controlling the lives of We The People. The more information that comes out about this subject, the more I'm convinced I am it is nothing more than a personal vendetta against mr. Nygard.
Patrick Fitzgerald February 09, 2013 at 10:04 PM
I think its also an example or the few making wrong choices for the people. In my opinion the city should put each law to a vote to see what the people want to pass and what not to pass. I personally would pass those items that allow energy independance like wind and solar equipment and also not stop playground, hot-tubs, lawn-sheds, gazebos, etc that the people need and have typically relied upon as accessory structures. Why not elect officials that can put these issues on a ballot?

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