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Lake Township board rejects wind ordinance

Local officials earlier this week rejected the Lake Township wind energy zoning ordinance that was referred by the local planning commission earlier this year. "It's was just too restrictive - no one could do anything with it," said Lake Township Supervisor Robert T. Smith on Thursday. During a special meeting Tuesday morning, the Lake Township Board of Trustees voted 3 to 1 to reject the ordinance.

LAKE TWP - Local officials earlier this week rejected the Lake Township wind energy zoning ordinance that was referred by the local planning commission earlier this year.

"It's was just too restrictive - no one could do anything with it," said Lake Township Supervisor Robert T. Smith on Thursday.

During a special meeting Tuesday morning, the Lake Township Board of Trustees voted 3 to 1 to reject the ordinance, which was recommended to move forward to the board of trustees by the Lake Township Planning Commission on Jan. 14.

Prior to Tuesday's township vote, the draft was reviewed by the Huron County Planning Commission in March, when county planning commissioners said the draft does not concur with the county's plans/ordinances. The reason Huron County planning commissioners cited for not concurring with the draft ordinance is because it is very restrictive, as it would have been impossible to build any commercial turbines under the provisions in the proposed ordinance. The county planning commission did not have the authority to approve or reject the draft ordinance, and it was required by law to do the review and give feedback to the township either... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

LAKE TWP - Local officials earlier this week rejected the Lake Township wind energy zoning ordinance that was referred by the local planning commission earlier this year.

"It's was just too restrictive - no one could do anything with it," said Lake Township Supervisor Robert T. Smith on Thursday.

During a special meeting Tuesday morning, the Lake Township Board of Trustees voted 3 to 1 to reject the ordinance, which was recommended to move forward to the board of trustees by the Lake Township Planning Commission on Jan. 14.

Prior to Tuesday's township vote, the draft was reviewed by the Huron County Planning Commission in March, when county planning commissioners said the draft does not concur with the county's plans/ordinances. The reason Huron County planning commissioners cited for not concurring with the draft ordinance is because it is very restrictive, as it would have been impossible to build any commercial turbines under the provisions in the proposed ordinance. The county planning commission did not have the authority to approve or reject the draft ordinance, and it was required by law to do the review and give feedback to the township either concurring or not concurring with it.

After the county's review, it was then up to a vote of the Lake Township Board of Trustees to accept, reject or modify the draft.

In a press release Lake Township Clerk Valerie McCallum issued this week, McCallum stated during the course of Tuesday's meeting, "much of the correspondence and submissions from property owners addressed the wind development issue and appealed to the (Lake Township) Board (of Trustees) to accept the zoning ordinance as is."

While that may be, Smith told the Tribune that the proposed ordinance is not something the general public would approve of.

The press release issued by McCallum was not authorized by the entire township board, Smith said.

Smith said the ordinance will not be referred back to the local planning commission to begin work on a new draft. Instead, he is looking at wind ordinances from other entities around the state, including some he saw when he went to a Michigan Townships Association school for supervisors last week.

"They're not quite as strict and one-sided as ours is," he said.

According to McCallum's release, there was some dissent in the audience regarding Tuesday's vote. She said some challenged the votes of Fischer and Hyzer, saying they each have a conflict of interest as a DTE lease-holding family that can benefit financially from the decision.

According to courthouse records, Fischer and Hyzer are not the only elected officials who have either signed leases with wind companies or are related to others who have signed wind leases. There are other township board officials who have had wind leases and voted on local wind energy ordinances. Also, there are members on the county planning commission who have leases with wind developers and have voted on the county's wind ordinance.

Other issues discussed during Tuesday's special meeting included comments regarding U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's recommendations for siting wind turbines in areas near the Great Lakes shoreline, as well as some concerns regarding "the scientific information on health traumas stemming from wind turbine placement near homes," according to McCallum's release.

Also, McCallum's release states some attendees wanted the vote tabled so Trustee Dale Hartsell could vote on the issue, because he serves on the planning commission and has previously approved the ordinance as a member of that board.

Hartsell could not make Tuesday's meeting, which was scheduled after the board's regular meeting was recessed Monday night because Smith and board members had not received any packets/agendas in advance of the meeting, Smith said.

He said he is going to take some time to research ordinances from other areas around the state and create a list of things he opposed or supported in the proposed ordinance that was rejected Tuesday. Once his recommendations are compiled and then reviewed to ensure everything is "100 percent scientifically correct," Smith said, the issue will be discussed in a future board meeting. Smith anticipates that future discussion will take place during the township board's regular meeting in June.

The next Lake Township Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at the Lake Township Hall. The next regular Lake Township Board of Trustees meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. May 17 at the township hall.


Source: http://www.michigansthumb.c...

APR 24 2010
https://www.windaction.org/posts/25906-lake-township-board-rejects-wind-ordinance
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