Library filed under Zoning/Planning from Michigan
Wind turbines are now much easier to put up in the city, but officials don't expect them to dot the Holland skyline anytime soon. Before now, the city had no specific ordinances addressing turbines. The new language will allow them to be half as tall as the property up to 60 feet in residential areas. The restriction is designed as a fall zone. "It's all very dependent on the size of the property," planner Mark Vanderploeg said about height restrictions.
Over five years ago, White River Township erupted in controversy when Wind Energy Conversions LLC began to lease land from farmers for a potential wind energy farm. ...But a wind farm could again be in the works, according Amanda Abbott, the director of government and public affairs for BP Alternative Energy.
"Given the principles and ethics that I live by, I cannot continue to work at the township with a clear conscience. It is a conflict of interest for board members to vote on issues that they have a financial interest in, it is morally wrong to deliberately embarrass fellow board members at public meetings, and elected officials are not suppose to use the office to further their own personal agendas," Bolten's letter reads. "The voters of Lake Township have spoken, and the majority has shown their support for this type of government. I, however, cannot be a part of it." Much of the community's divisiveness stems from possible wind projects in the area.
Wind turbines could soon be allowed to dot Holland's skyline, but there will be limits. ...Federal Aviation Administration regulations won't allow larger commercial wind turbines because of height limits near Tulip City Airport, Ottawa Executive Airport and Park Township Airport. The restriction is based on a formula that says the closer a turbine is to an airport, the lower to the ground it must be.
Paul Lehto, Calumet Township supervisor, said Wednesday the township board of trustees has been considering the possibility of establishing rules allowing the development of wind power in the township for residences and businesses. "We are developing two ordinances," Lehto said. The two ordinances would apply to small wind turbines, which would be used predominantly by residences, Lehto said, and large turbines, which would probably be used for businesses.
The popularity of alternative energy will be tested Tuesday in West Michigan when voters in Oceana County's Elbridge Township decide whether to permit construction of a $120 million commercial wind farm. John Deere Wind Energy and Michigan Wind LLC of Big Rapids want to erect 30 wind turbines ...The township board in August approved a zoning ordinance change that allowed the project to proceed. But township resident Don Wierenga launched a successful petition drive to put a referendum on the issue before all township voters.
Local officials are anything but happy with legislation they believe will pre-empt local government control of wind development systems. The legislation is Senate Bill 213 — which is the renewable energy package that’s been one of the most talked-about issues/pieces of legislation needing to be passed in Lansing. ...there never was an intent to pre-empt local governments, said Rep. Jeff Mayes (D-Bay City), who serves as vice chair of the House Committee on Energy and Technology, and also is the House’s leading negotiator for renewable portfolio standard and energy efficiency.
Mark McConnell is close, but not close enough. He owns 3.44 acres of property and wants to install a 51-foot wind turbine. Unfortunately for McConnell, his property happens to fall in Presque Isle Township, where 4 acres are required and turbines can only be 40 feet high.
The ordinance allows wind towers of up to 30 feet in residential and open space zones. Anything taller, up to 60 feet, in those zones would require a special-use permit from the Planning Commission. In commercial and office zones, towers of up to 45 feet are allowed. Anything taller, again with a maximum of 60 feet, requires a permit.
In a 3-2 vote Aug. 7, Elbridge Township officials approved a zoning amendment to allow for wind turbine generators. ...The move wraps up a whirlwind of activity in the township over the last six weeks. Michigan Wind LLC in conjunction with John Deere Wind Energy proposes a $150 million, 30 turbine generator wind farm for the western side of the township on a north-south line approximately one-half mile east of 116th Avenue. The units would be owned and operated by John Deere Wind Energy.
The DeWitt City Council doesn't expect a lot of wind turbines to be raised in the next month or so, but that didn't stop it from placing a 90-day moratorium on the construction of the structures, said city administrator Brian Vick. After participating in a planning and zoning training session at Michigan State University last month, Vick said he and other city officials are trying to keep ahead of the curve in regards to renewable energy.
A 197-foot tall meteorological tower would have a 380-foot diameter footprint and measure wind speed, duration and other information to determine whether an industrial grade wind turbine should be installed on Windmill Island Gardens. DeZwaan windmill is 125 feet tall. The island has its own zone tied to a fizzled-out plan for a village there with homes, businesses and other amenities. The zoning there would allow a structure up to 160 feet tall. The Holland Zoning Board of Appeals approved a variance to allow the 197-foot tower Thursday, July 24.
That moratorium - which was adopted in March - was created so the planning commission would have time to study issues dealing with siting, noise affects, health concerns, possible property value decreases and other problems the board fears could arise if not properly addressed in the township's ordinance, said Lake Township Clerk Valerie J. McCallum. "If a land use has the potential to disrupt one person's life in the community, the township should spend the time and money to do what is in the best interests of the community," reads the township's March 31 minutes which included the discussion and adoption of the moratorium. ...Before the planning commission writes a wind ordinance, there still are some questions that need to be answered, McCallum said. Those questions left to be answered include (1) what effects, if any, would wind turbines have on existing property values within the township, and (2) what possible effects, if any, would the turbines have on the health of the citizens living in proximity to any turbines.
The manager of Land Use Informatics at the Michigan State University's Land Policy Institute cautioned local officials and residents last week about signing and zoning away their land, saying wind developers are eyeing agricultural areas such as the Thumb in the same manner 49ers did during the gold rush. "And there's an awful lot of people selling shovels," said Charles McKeown on Wednesday during a four hour-long Lake Township Planning Commission meeting at the Sleeper State Park's Outdoor Center.
The Township Board made progress in setting rules for wind turbines. The board approved an ordinance regulating meteorological evaluation towers, which measure wind and collect other data to determine the practicality of installing electricity-generating wind turbines. The Planning Commission is working on an ordinance for the wind turbines.
To deal with possible new requests, the Planning Commission will look at a proposed ordinance governing wind energy systems. Currently, wind energy systems are allowed only as an accessory use and may be no more than 15 feet tall. Planning director Terry Schweitzer said those rules really limit the use of any wind system. The city has received inquiries for wind systems ..."We have seen one industrial business interested, but they would be hamstrung with our current regulations," Schweitzer said.
A draft ordinance that would allow wind turbines for energy production is one step closer to getting the "green" light in Norton Shores. During a work session Tuesday night, the city council gave administrators the nod to have the planning commission review the ordinance, which could be adopted this summer. If the ordinance is approved, residential and commercial turbines would be allowed to operate inside the city for the first time. Right now, the city's zoning books do not specifically address turbines, so they are not allowed, said Community Development Director Dick Maher. ...Maher said the purpose of the ordinance is to give residents and businesses the ability to install turbines while giving them rules to follow. He said "a couple businesses in town" have inquired about whether they could use a turbine to offset energy costs.
As the nation continues to look toward cleaner and more renewable energy sources to fuel electricity, wind energy is becoming a more viable option, and recent data suggests that Northern Michigan’s hilly terrain and proximity to the Great Lakes make it an ideal area to harvest this inextinguishable source of power. ...“The common lifestyle people only think about their energy source when they pay their bill once a month, and if their power ever goes out,” he said. “More expensive energy will get people to conserve more, and use power more wisely. We can still live a good life this way.” Yet, wind energy is not without its detractors — some residents complain of the low hum produced by the blades.
It's still in the preliminary stages...but a northern Michigan power company is researching a Charlevoix County community as the possible home to a wind turbine site. Traverse City Light and Power recently signed a real estate option and wind easement contract that could potentially lead to the construction of several wind turbines in Norwood Township. "... the planning commission has appointed a sub committee to work on the creation of that [ordinance] so we can get the towers permitted properly in our township," says Norwood Township supervisor Tim Boyko.
For at least several months, Iberdrola and Heritage Sustainable Energy of Traverse City have been securing wind rights leases in several townships in northern Kent and Ottawa counties. "In the Fruit Ridge area, we've leased somewhere in the vicinity of about 4,000 acres," said Rick Wilson, project coordinator for Heritage Sustainable Energy and its sister company, Wind Energy Partners. "We're in the very early stages of investigating the wind energy development potential in that area," added Wilson. The area includes about three of the townships on the Kent-Ottawa county line. Wilson said Heritage Sustainable Energy has not yet sought permits for erecting test towers but is planning to do so for one or two towers.