Library filed under Zoning/Planning from Michigan
Sandstone Creek Solar LLC sought to construct a solar energy facility on 850 acres of agriculture land in Benton Township in Eaton County, MIchigan. The township did not have zoning at the time and relied on county zoning for land use regulation. When it became apparent that the County would support approval of the solar project Benton's Trustees adopted an interim zoning ordinance that permitted small-scale solar energy systems in districts zoned for industrial use and permitted large-scale solar energy systems in industrial districts by special use permit. Sandstone Creek and landowner, Gary Walters, filed a suit challenging Benton's actions. In this decision the court upholds the lower court's decision that found the Benton Township acted lawfully. The full decision can be accessed at the document links on this page.
This useful resource lists a host of protective land use ordinances adopted in different jurisdictions in the State of Michigan for siting industrial wind energy turbines. A sample set of ordinances is provided below. The full list can be downloaded from this page.
DTE filed written objections that the 328-foot height limit as measured from the tip of the vertical blade prevents the turbine from reaching wind resources. It said 500 feet is more typical in the state. The written presentation ...also claimed the regulations for setbacks made it impossible to site any wind turbines on the almost half of the township under a lease.
After over two years of meetings and discussion, the Matteson Township Board on Wednesday night dealt a potential blow to DTE Energy’s plan to install wind turbines in the township.
The ordinance requires a setback of 1.25 miles from the property line of a non-leased parcel, which among other setbacks DTE finds excessive. “We are confident the cumulative effect of these setbacks will not leave any land availible for potential wind turbine siting,” he wrote.
An Eaton County judge has dismissed a Minnesota-based solar and wind energy company's lawsuit claiming an interim zoning ordinance put in place by Benton Township to block a proposed 850-acre solar array is not valid.
CHARLOTTE – Benton Township voters could decide the fate of an interim zoning ordinance at the heart of a lawsuit filed by a company proposing an 850-acre solar array in rural Eaton County.
“People were mostly concerned with safety, the fact that (the turbines) are so close to people’s homes and property. People were concerned about the noise, concerned about the shadow flicker,” Sower said. Sower says there was a turbine slated to go up within 800 feet of his home.
A week from today, the Sherwood Township Wind Energy zoning ordinance will go into effect requiring a special use permit to erect wind turbines in the township. The amendment was approved last Thursday in a special township meeting by Treasurer Dale Marie Brubaker and Trustees Marjorie Whitcomb and Fred Haack.
Two years after it started work, Sherwood Township has a wind turbine control ordinance. It passed 3-0 in a special meeting Thursday and will take place seven days after publication in the newspaper.
Concerned Citizens posted on their Facebook page that the ordinance establishes the maximum height of an industrial turbine at 330 feet. It also requires a setback from a non-participating parcel be 500 percent of the height of the tower and the required setback from a body of water is half a mile.
After 14 meetings over 23 months, Sherwood Township residents will have to wait until Dec. 5 for the township board to vote on a proposed wind turbine control ordinance. The ordinance would set height limits of 330 feet for turbines, set noise levels, establish blade flicker and set minimum setbacks from property line and residences.
A zoning ordinance that would restrict wind turbines in Sherwood Township was supposed to come to a vote during the township board meeting Tuesday night, but an error in the noticing for the meeting caused the vote to be delayed, according to Sherwood Township Attorney Catherine Kaufman.
Attorney Joshua Nolan, hired by Concerned Citizens, said the law was defensible and not arbitrary or capricious. He is already opposing other ordinances for wind turbines in the state. He asked for a lower night time noise limit as well as a provision to require all permits before any construction begins.
The Planning Commission recommended on a 6-0 vote that the Township Board adopt an amendment to the Township Zoning Ordinance which would require a Special Use Permit for wind energy conversion systems. It would also establish what some regard as stringent regulations and standards.
SHERWOOD TOWNSHIP — After 22 months of work, the Sherwood Township Planning Commission has recommend the first Wind Turbine control ordinance to its township board.
BATAVIA TOWNSHIP — The Batavia Township Planning Commission is not yet ready to tackle a wind turbine ordinance, Trustee Mike Crenshaw told the township board Tuesday night.
Voters in Bay County recalled a township supervisor who was pushing the development of wind farms. Jonesfield Township in Saginaw County rejected a zoning change that would have enabled more turbines. And in Baraga County, voters turned down a zoning ordinance sought by a British wind power developer. These are small communities, but indicative of the chronic problem utility companies have in siting wind farms.
The planning commission pointed to the code compliance section of the Pegasus SLUP application as the main reason for revocation. The section reads: “The Pegasus Wind Energy Center will comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations and will obtain all required federal, state, and local approvals, licenses, permits or variances for the proposed wind project prior to the date of construction. ...Despite a portion of the section stating that NextEra would not begin construction until it retains all applicable permits, the Pegasus Project has begun with the construction of base supports as well as roads to the supports.
“We increased the setbacks to 2,000 feet (from 750 feet) from property lines. We indicate there should be zero shadow flicker on peoples’ property, unless they want to participate...and we also lowered the sound level,” he said.