The Concerned Citizens of Argyle and Moore Townships held a Facts vs Fiction meeting at the St. Joseph's Parish Hall in Argyle Township on Saturday for nearly 100 area residents. Attendees heard speakers on the topics of abandoning homes, zoning ordinances, and acoustics. Voters in Argyle Township will see a proposed Ordinance Amendment on the March 8th ballot.
The first speaker was Ted Hartke of Illinois. He says his family was forced to abandon their house in Vermilion County, Illinois because the sound levels of the wind turbines 1,665 and 2,225 feet from their home and bedrooms were routinely louder than zoning ordinances allowed. After trying everything from wearing headphones to bed to moving their beds into the living room, the family was finally forced to move. Besides losing sleep, he said his children also suffered from headaches, anxiety, and jaw issues. In his material Hartke says, “Our community was misled into making poor decisions which hurt the health and financial well being of my family. Let's keep this from happening in your county.”
Although not scheduled to speak at the meeting, InvEnergy lawyer Michael Blazer attended the meeting. Hartke referred to Blazer during his speech as, “The Big Bad Wolf.” Blazer asked about past projects that been approved by Boards despite Hartke's information and about a letter by the Superintendent where Hartke's two children attended school. When Blazer indicated that the superintendent may have retracted that letter and Hartke corrected him, Blazer became more confrontational and was asked to stop or he would be removed. Hartke then informed the crowd that he had been questioned by Blazer for 30 nights in Livingston County and their Board turned down a wind project. InvEnergy is now suing the county because they voted against it.
Richard James was the second speaker. He has over 40 years as an acoustics specialist. He has also tested sound levels at many homes in the thumb. He showed how that Huron County zoning does nothing to protect citizens from low frequency or impulse sounds as he cautioned those in Sanilac County residents. He said that, while they have sophisticated instruments to test for low frequency sounds, “The most sensitive instrument for complex sounds are people.” He said he believes people first then uses the instruments to verify the results.
Speaker Kevon Martis spoke on what he calls trespass zoning. According to one of the slides in the presentation by Martis, “By demanding that the setbacks distances for wind turbines be measured from home on adjacent properties rather than from the property line (which is typical of all other land use regulations) the wind developer is in essence asking the regulatory body to grant them trespass privileges on unleased property. We call this Trespass Zoning.” Martis is the Executive Director of the Interstate Informed Citizen's Coalition. His concern is that zoning boards consider the health, safety, and welfare of residents as they make their decisions.
At the conclusion of the meeting, everyone was invited to stay for a spaghetti dinner, free of charge, and interact with the speakers. Although it was suggested, no date and time for a debate between Blazer and Martis was set during the meeting.