Library filed under Zoning/Planning from Michigan
Faced with a referendum in August, questions about conflict of interest, and a decade-old zoning law, officials here have placed a temporary hold on a proposed windmill project. Exelon Generation, which wants to construct a total of 68 windmills in Marion and Bridgehampton townships, has run into a buzz-saw of opposition.
“It’s important that the community know the short-term, mid-term, and long-term consequences of having turbines in the community,” Tussey said. “It’s not a situation where, if you don’t like it, you can just turn it off. It’s more akin to building a bridge, and once a bridge is built, it’s built.” Tussey plans to work with the concerned citizens in Ellington Township on an educational campaign intended to deliver straight facts about turbines – and not just at public meetings held during major snowstorms.
Officials in Tuscola County’s Elmwood Township have enacted a one-year moratorium on construction of wind turbines, citing a need to “better protect the public health, safety and welfare” of residents. The moratorium wording is below and can be downloaded from the links on this page.
Residents of Ellington Township planned last night to ask township Supervisor Duane Lockwood to recuse himself from any further decisions regarding wind turbines in the community – and have threatened to file a lawsuit if it doesn’t happen.
Residents attended the Ellington Township board of trustees meeting held March 1, 2016 during a major snowstorm in Michigan's Thumb region. The residents are clearly seen pleading for the board to put safety ahead of the monetary opportunities from a NextEra wind energy proposal. At least one of the board members is a leaseholder and financially vested in the project proceeding. The project application is ripping the community apart where 90% of the households oppose the project. The news story covering this meeting can be read here.
Wheatland Township voters will have their say on March 8 over an amendment to the township’s zoning ordinance that sets up special parameters for wind turbines. The township’s board adopted the measure Sept. 12, and residents petitioned the language go to a public vote three months later.
A top Tuscola County official said it was “very disconcerting” that at least one Ellington Township official struck a deal to lease land to NextEra Energy Resources – and has been involved in setting ordinances for wind turbines.
“Day after day, month after month, the wind developers are relentless in trying to force wind turbines in our townships in locations where the turbines will be negatively affecting the residents’ health, safety and welfare,” said Ellington Township resident Bobbie Mozden. “Board members, please revise the wind ordinance and protect our township residents.”
Roger Knight feels township officials shouldn’t have voted on the windmill zoning ordinance changes because of their leases with Exelon, a company with plans to construct 68 windmills across three Sanilac County townships. “It’s the wrong way of doing business,” Knight said. “There’s nothing fair about it.”
On the same day the governor signed into law a plan to fix Michigan roads, ending a lengthy debate in the Legislature, a local agreement was also reached: Huron County has a new, stricter and more defined rulebook to govern wind turbines.
During Tuesday’s regular Board of Commissioners meeting, Board Chairman John Nugent said he has concerns about changes the planning commissioners made after receiving proposed ordinance changes from the county’s Wind Energy Zoning Committee, an ad hoc committee created by county commissioners in early 2014 to investigate wind energy and advise the planning commission.
After more than a year investigating and deliberating the regulations necessary for safely siting wind turbines in the county, the Huron County Planning Commission hopes to finally remove the proposed ordinance from its agenda after next week.
Zach Kramer of Minden City was the first to give his story. He said some residents are forced to sign contracts that forbid them from making a complaint. He said, “Individuals should be concerned about doing the right thing versus collecting another check.” Kramer continued, “Right or wrong, let's think of our neighbors and not just our check books.”
Among the revisions the board voted in favor of adopting was increasing the setback to 1,640 feet from non-participating property lines. ...The board also voted to adopt a proposed revision that would require wind turbine developers to ensure the existence of funds for decommissioning turbines by buying bonds.
Dorman said if voters approve the language, the ordinance goes into effect as is. If voters reject the language, a new ordinance would need to be written, he said.
Following the hearing, planners are expected to either make a recommendation to county commissioners or table a decision. The Nov. 4 hearing comes after a moratorium preventing new wind energy projects in the 16 townships expires.
Slowing the process of getting a new wind energy ordinance for the county isn’t bothering some residents. “I feel there’s a tendency, a human tendency, (of) ‘Let’s finally get rid of this thing and pass something,’ ” Keith Iseler of Port Hope said Wednesday when county planners met, commending their efforts before again reviewing a new rulebook for wind turbines.
The task of creating a new wind energy ordinance became taller Wednesday, when county planners got another redo of the draft from a Grand Rapids acoustics firm. It arrived about two minutes before their 7 p.m. meeting.
As officials further debate the chapters of a new rule book for wind projects, the threat of litigation against the county is becoming a recurring concern. In July, the attorney for the board of commissioners, Stephen Allen, cautioned that new wind energy regulations should be based on reason, rather than opinion.
Seneca Township residents voted 135-130 Tuesday to repeal a township wind turbine ordinance approved unanimously by the township board of trustees in March.