Library filed under Zoning/Planning from Michigan
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.
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.