Library filed under Zoning/Planning from Michigan
As state legislators and the governor grapple with alternative energy policies governing such technologies as wind turbines, no doubt local officials also will face several thorny wind issues. Cities, villages and townships will weigh in through their zoning ordinances as the needs and rights of property owners are balanced through local land-use rules. Local governments have the power to promote or eliminate wind projects in their communities, Brion Dickens told a Muskegon Countywide planning commission meeting earlier this week. ... "If you don't want a wind project in your community, put it in your zoning," Dickens told Muskegon area public officials. ..."This is a new beast for a lot of people, especially those in Michigan," Dickens told the Muskegon planners of the land rent payments, construction jobs and tax-base benefits of wind farms. "Some areas might not want wind turbines."
City officials are preparing an ordinance that would allow residents and companies to operate wind turbines. A handful of townships in Michigan have ordinances that specifically address turbines, but few cities have followed suit. Officials in the city's community development office are studying the issue as residents become interested in using alternative energy sources. ...Heights are being worked out, but TV antennae are allowed to be 70 feet tall. Maher said the city wants to strike a balance where residential turbines would be high enough to be effective without posing a threat to neighbors if they topple.
Rogers City residents who have an opinion regarding a proposed wind turbine ordinance for the city will have the opportunity to speak up at April's planning commission meeting Members of the Rogers City planning commission voted unanimously during their Monday evening meeting to set a public hearing regarding the proposed ordinance. In addition, a six-month moratorium was passed, barring all wind turbine projects within the city until the commission is able to study the issue further. "This is something that requires a lot of study and careful thought," said City Manager Mark Slown.
Concerns about wind turbines include them toppling over and the noise they make. Baumann said the planning commission will likely address how close turbines can be to property lines, provide a decibel limit and may define in which districts they may be located. Developers for the Great American Sports Complex, a proposed $100 million sports facility in the township, have said they may use a turbine to power some of the facility. Mark Knudsen, director of the Ottawa County Planning and Grants Department, said he is monitoring how many townships have regulations about wind power.
City officials say they are making strides in the quest to build one of the nation's first urban wind farms. This week, Wyandotte plans to submit results from a one-year avian study to the U.S. Department of Energy. The findings, coupled with results gathered from two meteorological towers, are encouraging for plans to construct five turbines near the Detroit River, said Melanie McCoy, the city's general manager of municipal services.
The provincial government of Ontario has lifted a ban enacted more than a year ago on offshore wind energy developments and will soon resume accepting applications for such proposals, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources announced. "This government is committed to developing clean, renewable sources of energy so Ontarians will have a sustainable supply of power now and in the future," Natural Resources Minister Donna Cansfield said in a statement Jan. 17. "Offshore applications we've received to date will be processed, and we are preparing to accept new applications for both onshore and offshore developments."
Consumers Energy plans to develop as many as eight windmill farms in Michigan, officials say. The move is part of the utility's Balanced Energy Initiative, which aims in part to double the amount of renewable energy the company generates from 5 percent to 10 percent by 2015. ...''We need to add 3 million megawatt hours per year ... to go to 10 percent by 2015,'' Rasher said. For the wind farms, Consumers is looking at installing large turbines that generate up to 2.5 megawatts each. Each wind development will generate up to 100 megawatts. But Rasher said the wind farms can only be expected to generate power about 25 percent of the time. That's why Consumers also is planning to build an 800-megawatt coal-fired plant at its Karn-Weadock complex in Bay County's Hampton Township. ''We need some other resource that's dispatchable,'' Rasher said. ''You can't put all your eggs in one basket.''
After a lengthy debate, the Lake Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday denied a variance request submitted by DTE Energy to install a 197 foot meteorological tower on vacant property on the south side of Etzler Road just over a quarter mile west of State Park Road in Caseville. DTE officials at Tuesday evening's meeting said they will have to wait and see what the company's next move may be. ...The variance requested was to allow a meteorological tower with a height of 197 feet to be installed in Lake Township. DTE needed the variance because Lake Township's ordinance does not allow special structures (such as chimneys or smoke stacks, radio or television transmitting towers or antennas, wireless communication towers, microwave, relay towers or power generation towers) to exceed 175 feet in the agricultural district.
With the area's first commercial wind turbine scheduled for installation in November, some people are beginning to worry about the potential impact of the development to their property and neighborhoods. ... One goal of the meeting is to unite and empower people in the ordinance development process. With no state or federal guidelines regulating wind farms, local government units must create their own ordinances.
TAYLOR - Amid a national push to reduce fossil fuel usage, Taylor is poised to join the slowly increasing ranks of Michigan cities gambling on the wind to cut soaring energy costs. The City Council this week signed on to a $100,000 deal to build a pair of 120-foot-tall meteorological towers in Taylor's north and south ends.
DTE Energy Co. announced today that it signed a long-term purchase agreement with Heritage Sustainable Energy LLC, allowing for the construction of a 6,500-acre wind farm in Richland. The 10-year agreement is part of the Detroit-based utility's GreenCurrents program, which allows electric customers to pay a premium for the assurance that their power will come from renewable sources.
Debate on a controversial wind-energy bill has been stalled as budget talks dominate Lansing's agenda, and the Blackman Township Board came out against the bill Monday night. House Bill 4254, introduced in February, would allow the placement of windmills in any zoning classification as long as they meet certain conditions, including proximity to adjoining property and limits on the amount of noise created. Blackman Township Supervisor Ray Snell said he is opposed to the bill because it would trump local zoning regulations regarding the placement of windmills. "It allows anybody to put up a windmill in a residential district," Snell said. The township board voted unanimously to oppose the bill.
Cleveland Township planners have recommended approval of a long-awaited zoning ordinance amendment outlining requirements for "wind energy systems" in the township. Work on the amendment has been under way since last year. The draft amendment specifies requirements for structures used for anemometers or windmills that generate electrical power for individual residences, businesses or farms. The maximum allowable height for such towers under the proposed zoning ordinance provision is 125 feet. Following a public hearing at their regular monthly meeting June 6, Cleveland planners voted unanimously to send their draft to the Leelanau County Planning Commission for a review prior to sending it to the Cleveland Township Board for consideration of adoption.
A local sand-mining company took the first step toward producing energy from windmills in Muskegon County by winning permission to erect towers on its Lake Michigan dune property that will measure the wind.
After failing in its plans to build 65 upscale homes on land that was once sand-mined, Nugent Sand Co. wants to embark on an experiment involving generation of wind power and is seeking approval tonight. Within the next month, the firm would like to erect two meteorological towers up to 162 feet in height on its property. They would be used only for the next year to test wind speeds and direction.
About 15,000 homes and businesses in Michigan's Thumb will get their electric power from wind energy by next spring, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, utility and business officials announced today. A $90 million joint venture between Wolverine Power and John Deere Wind Energy means 32 wind turbines will be built on a 3,200-acre parcel in Huron County this year and will generate 53 megawatts of electricity by March of 2008. "This wind plant will be the first, we hope, of many," Granholm said. "Investments in the alternative energy industry are key to our economic future." Also today, House Democrats announced a package of bills to encourage investment in various forms of alternative energy
A steady Lake Michigan wind blows through Christmas trees and asparagus on Gerald Greiner's farm. He might as well spit into it. The fourth-generation farmer is among three dozen in western Oceana County who had hoped to start harvesting the wind soon, turning it into a cash crop. They signed leases with a Lowell developer for what would have been Michigan's first energy-creating wind farm, with 90 huge, white turbines - part of a national campaign to fight global warming. "We'd see one just over the top of that hill," said Greiner, 81, pointing out the back window of his ranch home. But some neighbors didn't like the idea, and neither did the local planning commission, which questioned the benefits of wind power and the impact on property values. It's not clear what will happen to the project.
TUSTIN - Everything comes at a price. Nearly 50 township and county officials and landowners gathered in Tustin Wednesday to learn how jurisdictions could evaluate what the trade-offs are in bringing wind energy production to their communities. "Nothing we do for energy comes without a cost," said Mike Klepinger, Land Use Specialist for Michigan State University Extension. "We have to decide what kind of cost we are willing to pay."
O'Shea, along with officials and planners from jurisdictions throughout northern Michigan, took part in a local seminar last week about how local governments can draft zoning ordinances tailored for small and large wind projects. The presentation was organized by the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments. Michael Klepinger, extension specialist with Michigan State University, said most jurisdictions in Michigan lack zoning ordinances that specifically address wind power.
The Ann Arbor City Council unanimously approved plans for $9-million Tierra Place project, 200 South Ashley, in downtown Ann Arbor Monday night.......Wind turbines will also be built on top of the building that will look like smoke stacks to produce energy. A green rook will also be built over approximately half of the roof's surface.