Documents filed under Zoning/Planning from Michigan
This important decision by US District Court Judge Thomas L. Ludington addresses two arguments proffered by the wind industry. The first relates to the industry's argument that noise standards for limiting turbine noise emissions that are based on Lmax are not reasonable. The second discusses the argument that restricitve ordinances, in this case an Lmax noise limit, are de facto exclusionay zoning. Judge Ludington takes both claims on and finds the wind company's arguments are without merit. A portion of the decision is provided below. The full decision can be downloaded from this page.
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.
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.
This wind ordinance was adopted by Riga Township to govern the safe siting of industrial wind energy facilities.
Centerville Township, located in Leelanau County Michigan adopted this commerical wind energy zoning ordinance on August 18. 2010. The ordinance provides detailed standards for siting wind turbines to ensure the public is appropriately protected. Portions of the ordinance appeear below. The full ordinance can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
Centerville Township in Leelanau County has prepared this commercial wind energy systems ordinance.
Please note that anything of lighter color or crossed out is the recommendation from the township attorney. The markup reflects the attorney's view that any environmental clauses can be challenged in the courts and the township should not take on the liability of being an "expert" in intrepreting the studies presented to them by the developer or citizen.
These guidelines have been developed by the Energy Office, Michigan Dept. of Labor and Economic Growth to assist local governments to develop siting requirements for wind energy systems. These guidelines are not intended to apply in urban areas that already have height, noise, setback and other requirements that can be applied to wind energy systems. These guidelines have been developed with the intention of striking an appropriate balance between the need for clean, renewable energy resources and the necessity to protect the public health, safety, and welfare. The guidelines represent recommended zoning language for local governments to use if they amend their zoning ordinance to address wind energy systems. The Energy Office, DLEG has no authority to issue regulations related to siting wind energy systems.
The project will consist of approximately 32 wind turbines and associated access roads, a collection system, substations and associated equipment. Each turbine pedestal will occupy an area approximately 50' square......
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT: SEC. 16J. (1) AS USED IN THIS SECTION, A "WIND ENERGY SYSTEM" OR "SYSTEM" MEANS A WIND ENERGY CONVERSION SYSTEM. (2) A WIND ENERGY SYSTEM SHALL BE PERMITTED IN ALL ZONING 3 CLASSIFICATIONS SUBJECT TO ALL OF THE FOLLOWING REQUIREMENTS:"
Shadow Flicker Shadow flicker is caused by the sun rising or setting behind the rotating blades of a turbine. The shadow created by the rotating blades can cause alternating light and dark shadows to be cast on roads or nearby premises, including the windows of residences, resulting in distraction and annoyance to the residents. A related phenomenon, strobe effect, is caused by the chopping of sunlight behind moving blades, similar to the effect of the setting sun behind trees when driving along a roadway in the winter. Both of these phenomena are factors in the visual impact of a wind turbine project, and some argue that they are a threat to health and safety. They could also be considered a nuisance to nearby property owners.
Low Frequency Noise Low frequency noise is generated at very low frequencies, generally accepted to be at levels below 100 Hz and the audible range. There is presently no commonly accepted metric or standard for measurement, although several have been proposed or used in specific situations. Low frequency noise has been associated with wind turbine developments, as well as road, rail, sea and air traffic and other industrial applications such as cooling towers. It creates a large potential for community annoyance, and it is most often experienced inside of homes and buildings where resonance amplifies the sound, which is less easily heard outside. Because the frequencies are so low, the noise is often “felt” as a vibration or a pressure sensation. Reported effects include annoyance, stress, fatigue, nausea and disturbed sleep. Low frequency noise can be a factor at much greater distances from the noise source than audible noise. A case study in North Carolina in the 1980’s near a wind turbine installation documented low frequency noise problems at residences located over ½ mile from the turbine.2 While the phenomenon was originally believed to be associated with the older, down-wind designed turbines, the problem persists with newer wind farms. It has received particular attention in Denmark, and has been a topic considered in the UK, Scotland and Wales through a commissioned government project in 2001.