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County addresses wind turbine issues

After receiving several letters of complaints from Huron County residents over the last several months regarding the effects wind turbines are having on their lives, the county is taking steps to properly address the issues. Advertisement At last week's Huron County Planning Commission meeting it was announced that a committee will be formed that will include commissioners David Peruski and Kurt Damrow, as well as three members from the Planning Commission.

HURON COUNTY - After receiving several letters of complaints from Huron County residents over the last several months regarding the effects wind turbines are having on their lives, the county is taking steps to properly address the issues.

At last week's Huron County Planning Commission meeting it was announced that a committee will be formed that will include commissioners David Peruski and Kurt Damrow, as well as three members from the Planning Commission.

"The issue has been one of zoning," Huron County Building and Zoning Director Russ Lundberg said. "How is the ordinance going to work in reviewing noise issues and dealing with them."

Lundberg noted that the turbines from Michigan Wind I are still under warranty and that he met with officials from John Deere Wind earlier that day and the group will be providing some post-construction analysis, possibly as soon as this week, which will be helpful in addressing the issue.

He added that a committee would be set up with two commissioners, members of the Planning Commission and possibly representatives from the wind industry so complaints can be addressed and possible modifications to the wind ordinance can also be looked at.

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HURON COUNTY - After receiving several letters of complaints from Huron County residents over the last several months regarding the effects wind turbines are having on their lives, the county is taking steps to properly address the issues.

At last week's Huron County Planning Commission meeting it was announced that a committee will be formed that will include commissioners David Peruski and Kurt Damrow, as well as three members from the Planning Commission.

"The issue has been one of zoning," Huron County Building and Zoning Director Russ Lundberg said. "How is the ordinance going to work in reviewing noise issues and dealing with them."

Lundberg noted that the turbines from Michigan Wind I are still under warranty and that he met with officials from John Deere Wind earlier that day and the group will be providing some post-construction analysis, possibly as soon as this week, which will be helpful in addressing the issue.

He added that a committee would be set up with two commissioners, members of the Planning Commission and possibly representatives from the wind industry so complaints can be addressed and possible modifications to the wind ordinance can also be looked at.

"Noise complaints are going to be addressed, but according to proper standards," he said. "It takes more than someone using a monitoring device to do a proper study."

Lundberg added, "We are looking to resolve an issue."

Damrow explained that when the county first received the complaints, they began to formulate a means to address them. "We started this a few months ago," he explained, noting they took all the information from the complaints to the county's corporate counsel Steve Allen to look at.

One of the issues Damrow and Peruski wanted to address was how easy it is to file a complaint. He said it needs to be a step by step process that is easy for everyone to follow, but also establishes what is a legitimate complaint and what isn't.

Damrow also said, "We felt it would be prudent to work with planning commission and possibly corporate counsel (to get these issues resolved)."

"What we need to address as a county is adding to the ordinance for a dispute resolution process," Peruski explained.

He added, "I think unfortunately for Bingham Township it was used as a testing ground. I think we have to look at our current zoning ordinance and make sure this doesn't happen again."

Peruski noted the committee needs to find out what are the health effects of the turbines and what they are seeing that they didn't anticipate.

Lundberg offered his opinion as to what the early focus of the committee should be. "This committee should intend to look at the immediate problem first; the noise issue. Are Michigan Wind I and windmills in question in compliance with ordinance."

He added that John Deere Wind will be addressing the planning commission next month and will also meet with the committee. Once the noise is addressed, Lundberg thinks the group "can make possible adjustments to the standards" and "compare our standard vs. what makes a project work."

At this point, concerned citizens were given a chance to address the board. Dennis Mausolf pointed out that a lot of people drive by the windmills and roll down the window, but that is when they are moving at one revolution every six seconds. He noted, when they get into the four second range there is a lot more noise.

Curt Watchowski expressed concerns about allowing any more turbines to be constructed in the county before the issues are fixed. Board member Clark Brock responded, "There are no immediate plans for any new turbines to be built in the next 12-14 months."

Addressing the warranty issue, Watchowski wondered what happens when the warranty on those turbines expires.

He added that he has health concerns and they don't necessarily revolve around the noise issues. His complaint was about the low resonance frequency, which you can feel. "If you can feel it, what is it doing to our bodies?" asked Watchowski.

Watchowski noted that his animals are also being physically affected by the frequencies. He said his horses are laying down in the middle of the day, which is very unusual. "What is it doing to our livestock?" he wondered.

He added, "I hope we learn everything we can, before we let anyone else come in. I think before anything else happens, we need to know what it is doing."

After several others spoke, Lundberg tried to offer some reassurance. "I think the idea is to get on top of the situation."

Lundberg said that at this point it would be premature to say exactly what was is going to be done next "when we don't know (for sure) what we are going to do."

"Communication is important (as we move forward)," Brock explained.

Dr. Robert Oakes, also a member of the board, advised anyone dealing with health issues they think are related to the turbines to keep track of any symptoms they have. "Sleep deprivation is a real issue, because it is a health issue. If you can keep a sleep log that would be helpful," he said.

"We know there are problems and concerns," Damrow added. "(But I want to reassure you) the buck is going to start here (with this committee)."

After Damrow addressed the group, there was a discussion by the board as to which members would be part of the committee. Those selected were Brock, Mary Babcock and Joel Weber. Others who will be on the committee include Dale Lipar from the Health Department, Lundberg and Allen, as well as representatives from DTE and John Deere Wind.


Source: http://www.huroncountypress...

JUN 10 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/20672-county-addresses-wind-turbine-issues
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