Documents from Michigan
Sandstone Creek Solar LLC sought to construct a solar energy facility on 850 acres of agriculture land in Benton Township in Eaton County, MIchigan. The township did not have zoning at the time and relied on county zoning for land use regulation. When it became apparent that the County would support approval of the solar project Benton's Trustees adopted an interim zoning ordinance that permitted small-scale solar energy systems in districts zoned for industrial use and permitted large-scale solar energy systems in industrial districts by special use permit. Sandstone Creek and landowner, Gary Walters, filed a suit challenging Benton's actions. In this decision the court upholds the lower court's decision that found the Benton Township acted lawfully. The full decision can be accessed at the document links on this page.
This useful resource lists a host of protective land use ordinances adopted in different jurisdictions in the State of Michigan for siting industrial wind energy turbines. A sample set of ordinances is provided below. The full list can be downloaded from this page.
The attached ordinance from Matteson Township, Michigan outlines the requirements that small and large scale wind projects must satisfy in order to ensure the health and safety of citizens and the effective operation of wind energy in the Township. The ordinance calls for thorough site plans, turbine diagrams, and impact studies, including those related to shadow flicker, turbine noise, and the avian and environmental impact. It also provides detailed regulations on a project's components, issuing limitations on turbine height, noise emission, and shadow flicker. The Township Board reserves the right to shut down any wind project failing to meet the ordinance's stated requirements and regulations.
Beaver Township in Michigan adopted this protective wind ordinance by a 4-0 vote. A portion of the ordinance is provided below. The full document can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
This important letter by acoustician Stephen Ambrose explains how two separate court decisions, one in Massachusetts and the other in Michigan, together provide clarity on what the minimum protective noise limits should be when siting industrial wind energy facilities. Mr. Ambrose's letter includes links to the two decisions as well as supporting background information. The content of the letter is shown below. The original can be downloaded from this page.
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.
A petition signed by more than 120 people was submitted to Meade Township's clerk seeking a vote on whether areas in the township should be found suitable for wind energy development. The township clerk insisted the wording on the petition was inadequate, thus no ballot vote would happen. The deadline for submitting a petition has now passed. This letter, prepared by Attorney Joshua Nolan, explains Michigan's law on petitions and argues that the town clerk's decision to disqualify the petition was not lawful. A portion of the letter is posted below. The full letter can be accessed by clicking the link on this page.
The Lake Winds Energy Park has been found in violation of the Mason County Michigan zoning ordinance due to noise levels exceeding the permitted levels. The Mason County Planning Commission notified Consumers Energy of the exceedences and the matter is before the Courts. The attached document is the proposed sound mitigation plan. In addition, one of the residents pursuing the court case, Cary Shineldecker, filed a review of the mitigation plan. Both Consumers Sound Mitigation Plan and Mr. Shineldecker's review can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
This lawsuit filed against Consumers Energy Company, owner of the Lake Winds Energy Park consisting of fifty-six Vestas V100 1.8 megawatt turbines with a total installed capacity of 100.8 megawatts. An excerpt of the complaint is provided below. The full complaint can be accessed by clicking on the links at the bottom of this page.
This letter was submitted to the Delta County Michigan Building and Zoning Board in reference to noise eminating from the Heritage Garden Wind farm, a 28 megawatt (14 turbine) energy facility sited in Garden Township. The project became fully operational in September 2012 but by October 2012 complaints of noise poured in. The document attached to this page was prepared and signed by 73 residents impacted by the project.
In this strongly worded letter sent to Heritage Sustainable Energy, the US Fish and Wildlife Service advises Heritage to table its plans to erect a commercial wind energy facility on the Garden Peninsula because of the high potential for avian mortalities and violations of Federal wildlife laws.
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.
This letter, prepared by acoustics expert Malcolm Swinbanks, addresses three separate issues relating to wind turbines. First, an unresolved issue relating to low-frequency sound generation by wind-turbines. Second, further well-established characteristics of low-frequency noise. Third, the present status of permitted noise levels and setbacks. An excerpt of this letter is provided below. The full letter, as submitted to the State of Michigan, can be accessed by clicking on the link(s) at the bottom of 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.