Library from Michigan
After losing the election to force Union Township to adopt a zoning code, Concerned Citizens of Branch County urged Branch County Commissioners, at its Tuesday meeting, to create a county wide wind turbine zoning ordinance.
The group Concerned Citizens of Branch County is asking the County to intervene on their behalf especially after an effort they supported to have the Union Township Board adopt an ordinance that would have created a Planning Commission lost at the ballot box last Tuesday by 25 votes, 268-243.
Wallace “Buddy” Sweeney defeated the incumbent Brian Kissel ...Kissel was appointed to his seat on the board in July of this year but has been criticized for his role in approving ordinances that would allow for the permitting of wind turbines in the Summit Lake Wind Project proposed by Renewable Energy Systems (RES).
Union Township voters will be asked Tuesday should the Township Board adopt an ordinance to create a planning commission pursuant to the Michigan Planning Enabling Act of 2008.
The timberlands are owned by Weyerhaeuser, so the lease payments would go to one company alone. That's different from most wind farms, which pay many landowners for the right to place wind turbines on their land.
Critics have maintained formal opposition to the project. In August, Friends of the Huron Mountains filed an injunction challenging meteorological towers that were installed. In late October, members of the group began collecting signatures for a referendum on local ordinance changes ...the plan is to hold a vote in May 2019 to abandon the zoning changes.
The change adds wording to the part of the zoning ordinance that dictates property line setbacks for wind turbines that allows setback waivers for participating properties in lease agreements or easements.
“This requests the ordinance be placed on the ballot at the next regularly scheduled election,” Schulte said, “allowing all the registered voters of Presque Isle the opportunity to educate and then vote on whether the ordinance at large is protective and acceptable.”
Mary Reilly, a representative from the Michigan State University Extension Office, presented at the meeting saying that the proposed 31 turbines will make noise and will create noticeable shadow light flicker. ...Most of the crowd made it clear that they don’t want the project to move forward.
Canvassers have been going door-to-door in the township to collect signatures from registered voters. To qualify for the referendum, they need to collect at least 15 percent of township residents (excluding L’Anse village residents) who voted in the 2014 governor’s race.
Chester said those supporting green wind energy don’t understand the opposition. “We may not be politically correct for opposing wind turbines. But they don’t live next to them,” he said.
Township officials from around Michigan and a group of about 300 citizens gathered Tuesday in Bay County at a forum where they heard from a speaker critical of wind energy.
During public comment before the vote, Friends of the Huron Mountains (FOHM) president Burt Mason questioned the township board’s decision to allow to L’Anse village residents on the township planning board. ...Mason also said the vote to lower the minimum blade clearance is illegal because the resolution wasn’t part of the public hearing held on Sept. 27.
The county drafted updates that included definitions about turbines, exact zoning districts, setbacks, noise levels, potential abandonment of the turbine, and a variety of other zoning issues relating to installation of the turbines. ..."I mean, to leave it the way it was was pretty general, and they could probably be able to come in and do anything they wanted. So this does offer some restrictions.”
After months or work on a proposed ordinances to regulate wind turbines in Sherwood Township, the Planning Commission, Wednesday night, will hold another special public hearing.
Mike Dault said he’s generally in favor of green energy, but after doing some research about projects like the Summit Lake Wind Project, he finds most communities have regretted their construction. “How much have you researched it?” he asked the commission. “Don’t believe the salesman.”
"These are nearly 500 foot tall towers, that's taller than the statue of liberty they are very large," says Rick Sible, a resident against the wind farm project. Many residents say they have health concerns when it comes to the turbines, some worried about the shadow flickers they would make, and the noise coming from them.