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No jail time for Orono man, but flap over wind turbine hasn't blown over

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An Orono man whose backyard wind turbine is at the center of a legal fight says he was prepared to go to jail Thursday but learned he won't have to, after all.

Neighbors and the city have complained about noise and glare from the 29-foot turbine, leading a judge to order homeowners Jay and Kendall Nygard to remove it.

The court's deadline for taking it down came and went with the turbine still standing, so Jay Nygard tells FOX 9 he and his wife were convinced they'd be sent to jail. But the Nygards' attorney tells the station he argued that since the turbine is turned off and locked up, the homeowners should remain free

KSTP reports Hennepin County District Court Judge Susan Robiner spelled out some conditions the Nygards must meet. Among them, KSTP says:

  • They not only must keep the turbine locked, they must also bring the key to their next court hearing on March 5 and leave it there.
  • Provide proof that the lock and key system was inspected
  • Paint the turbine black to prevent glare
  • Pay a $1,000 deposit

The attorney representing the Nygards, Erick Kaardal, told FOX leaving the turbine standing was an act of civil disobedience. Even though it's inoperative, he called the turbine's presence a victory for green energy.

The legal wrangling over the turbine has included at least eight lawsuits and countersuits. It prompted Orono to pass an ordinance prohibiting wind turbines, which a court later overturned.

FOX says an appeals court will take up the next chapter in the case in March.

Jay Nygard owns a business called Go Green Energy, which sells wind turbines.

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The Minnesota Court of Appeals will allow an Orono man to keep his residential wind turbine that city officials say violates the zoning ordinance. The turbine is not as large as those seen in rural Minnesota and Iowa, homeowner Jay Nygard's machine is a vertical-axis turbine about 20 feet high.