7th Cir. Holds Wisconsin Town’s Refusal to Process Building Permits for a Wind Farm Not Subject to Constitutional Due Process Challenge


In the case of CEnergy-Glenmore Wind Farm #1, LLC, v. Town of Glenmore, decided on August 7, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the lower court’s ruling that the Town of Glenmore, Wisconsin’s delay and final rejection of wind farm building permits did not violate CEnery’s constitutional substantive due process rights. The proposal became very controversial, prompting the Town’s Board to rescind its earlier approval of the building permits, and the applicant alleged that it consequently lost a potentially lucrative business opportunity if the wind farms were unable to deliver power to a local utility.

The Court of Appeals held that the Board’s actions “were not arbitrary in the constitutional sense”, and that “popular opposition to a proposed land development plan is a rational and legitimate reason to delay making a decision”. Moreover, the plaintiff had other state law remedies available which it chose not to use, which further weakened its case. Finally, the Court of Appeals noted that if the plaintiff was successful, its success would cost each resident of Glenmore roughly $6000.