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Mason County Michigan Wind Ordinance

The Mason County, Michigan Planning Commission adopted thie wind energy ordinance effective July, 2015. This ordinance was developed following noise and shadow flicker complaints tied to Consumers Energy Lake Winds wind project. Portions of the ordinance are posted below. The full ordinance can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.

14. Height and Setback Requirements.

a. Wind energy generators may exceed the height limitations of the zoning district in which they are located, subject to the limitations provided in this subsection 14.

b. In the case of a “pooling of parcels,” no wind turbine generator shall be located such that the distance between the center of the base of the tower and any outside boundary line of the area comprising the special land use in which the pooled parcels are located is less than four times the height of the wind turbine generator, as measured from the ground at the center of the base of the tower to the highest reach of the blade. 

c. In the case of a single (unpooled) parcel, no wind turbine generator shall be located such that the distance between the center of the base of the tower and any property line is less than four times the height of the wind turbine generator, as measured from the ground at the center of the base of the tower to the highest reach of the blade.

d. No wind turbine generator shall be located such that the distance between the center of the base of the tower and the nearest point of any existing building designed or used for human occupancy or assembly (including but not limited to a dwelling, school, foster care facility, church and the like) is less than three times the height of the wind turbine as measured from the ground at the center of the base of the tower to the highest reach of the blade.

e. No wind turbine generator shall be located such that the distance between the center of the base of the tower to the nearest point of any existing building or structure that is not designed or used for human occupancy or assembly (including but not limited to a garage, other accessory building, barn, storage building and the like) or road right-of-way is less than one and one half times the height of the wind turbine generator, as measured from the ground at the center of the base of the tower to the highest reach of the blade.

f. No wind turbine generator shall be located such that the distance between the nearest point of the blade (while in rotation) and the nearest boundary line of any individual land parcel comprising the pooled parcel is less than 50 feet; provided, however, that the Planning Commission may approve a lesser setback distance if written consents for such lesser distance are obtained from the owners of all lands located, in whole or in part, within one rotor-diameter of the wind turbine generator measured from the center of the base of the wind turbine generator.

In determining whether such lesser setback may be approved, the Planning Commission shall consider the technical needs of the applicant, the feasibility of alternate locations, the nature and proximity of nearby buildings and structures, and the potential for adverse impacts that noise, shadow flicker, and other features may have on adjacent land uses. 

g. All wind turbine generators shall fully comply with Article XV Airport Overlay District. 

h. No wind turbine generator shall be located such that the distance between the center of the base of the tower to the nearest point of any existing gas transmission, distribution, or gathering line is less than two times the height of the wind turbine generator, as measured from the ground at the center of the base of the tower to the highest reach of the blade.

21. Shadow Flicker.

a. Flicker Study. A shadow flicker study shall be required, and shall be submitted by the applicant with the application. The purpose of the shadow flicker study is to examine the duration and location of shadow flicker on unpooled parcels. The model study area shall include all land extending a minimum of 20 rotor diameters in all directions from a wind turbine generator. The model shall be calculated using the following minimum inputs: turbine locations, shadow flicker receptor locations, existing topography, rotor diameter and hub height, joint wind speed and direction distribution (wind rose table, and hours of sunshine (long term monthly references)). The model shall calculate the locations and durations of shadow flicker caused by the proposed wind energy system within the study area, and the total number of hours anticipated per year of shadow flicker. The application shall include estimates for shadow flicker to the nearest tenth of an hour, on a daily basis for each receptor. Assumptions regarding the percentage of time that shadow flicker is likely to occur shall be clearly explained and subject to approval of the Planning Commission. The shadow flicker study shall include a map that indicates the extent of shadow flicker, pooled and unpooled parcels, and all potential shadow flicker receptors.

b. Shadow Flicker Limits. Shadow flicker shall not be allowed on an unpooled occupied building or dwelling, except for shadow flicker that is defined as incidental. Shadow flicker is measured at the nearest external wall or walls of an occupied building or dwelling located on an unpooled parcel. If an occupied building or dwelling is built on an unpooled parcel after the issuance of a special land use permit for a utility grid wind energy system and the occupied building or dwelling is in compliance with the minimum required front, side and rear yard setbacks then in effect within the zoning district in which the occupied building or dwelling is located, the owner of the wind energy system shall adhere to the above permissible shadow flicker limit at the nearest external wall or walls of such occupied building or dwelling.

c. Mitigation and Mitigation Plan. A shadow flicker detection/abatement system is required on each wind turbine generator. An equivalent type of system may be used, but only with prior approval by the Planning Commission. Shadow detection systems must be kept in good working order for the entire duration of the special land use. Shadow flicker mitigation measures for each receptor modeled to receive flicker shall be described in a mitigation plan and submitted with the application. Flicker mitigation measures may include but are not limited to, turbine siting changes, flicker detection/abatement system operations and procedures, grading, modifications to a dwelling and/or landscaping. If landscaping is used as a mitigation procedure, the planting of mature trees shall be required. The Planning Commission may require a performance guarantee, in the case of landscaping and/or other mitigation measures, to assure the long term viability and
effectiveness of the mitigation.

d. Post-Construction Flicker Mitigation. Should a dwelling or occupied structure on an unpooled parcel receive shadow flicker that was not indicated in the shadow flicker study, the owner of the wind energy system shall perform an additional flicker study and mitigation plan for the affected property and submit it to the Zoning Administrator for review prior to implementing mitigation measures.

 

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JUN 26 2015
http://www.windaction.org/posts/42964-mason-county-michigan-wind-ordinance
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