Articles filed under Impact on People from Michigan
The county's noise complaint resolution process was back in the spotlight this week as the Huron County Planning Commission learned the board of commissioners did not vote on its previous recommendation - and now it's back to the drawing board. The planning commission is working to create a specific section in the county's wind ordinance that would detail a process for residents to file official complaints about the turbines.
Pentwater, with its population of approximately 1,000, is a scenic, quiet village known for its summer music concerts at the village green and its close proximity to Lake Michigan. If a newly-formed company has its way, however, Schwarz and many other local residents believe Pentwater and the 100-mile long coastal stretch from Muskegon on the south to Ludington on the north will dramatically alter the area for the worse.
At a public meeting last week, residents of Ludington and Pentwater were unhappy, saying the spinning blades would ruin their vista and shoo away tourists and the money they bring to the area. There also are environmental concerns about how the noise and low-frequency hum the turbines make might affect bird and fish migration patterns. ..."It was shocking," said Mary Stiphany of Pentwater.
"I think it would be a little more fair if the people who are affected by this have an opportunity to listen and put their views forward," Emil Schwarz said from his Des Plaines, Ill., home Monday. Schwarz said he is not opposed to wind energy, but does not want wind turbines near his summer home in Pentwater.
About 180 people attended the meeting this evening at West Shore Community College to hear more about a plan for and voice their thoughts on 100 to 200 wind turbines in Lake Michigan offshore in an area from about the Ludington Pumped Storage Plant to the Silver Lake area. Most who spoke were against the proposal.
The City of Grand Rapids wants to install two turbines to generate 80,000 megawatts to power the city's water treatment plant. The city brought their plans to the residents of Grand Haven on Monday night, and they are not too happy about it. The Lake Michigan shoreline has been described as beautiful and pristine, and for many people in Grand Haven, it's also their backyard.
Lake Michigan cottage owner Rob Schantz favors smaller carbon footprints, buying locally and other green initiatives. But plans by city of Grand Rapids officials to build two 300-foot-tall wind turbines within view of his family's cottage is not environmentally friendly in his book. ...Schantz and many of his lakefront neighbors plan to attend an informational meeting Monday night to voice concerns to Grand Haven Township officials considering an ordinance change to allow large electricity-generating wind turbines.
A public hearing held Monday served as the forum for a variety of interests, as local government officials, wind developers and residents gave input on the effect of wind turbine setback requirements and noise limitations on wind energy development. ...A majority of the residents who spoke Monday were opposed to wind energy development in their area, citing concerns that turbines sited too close to homes will cause health problems, declining property values, a loss of scenic value and wildlife, and other detrimental effects to the environment.
A meeting in Lansing on siting wind turbines in Michigan got a little heated on Monday, as dozens of angry Thumb residents showed up to complain about noise from 78 turbines in Huron County.
Dozens of angry people showed up at a public meeting Monday to complain to the Public Service Commission about how their lives have been changed for the worse by annoying wind turbines, and to recommend that if the state plans thousands more, they should be built as far as possible from homes. Some neighbors of 78 turbines in the Thumb area said they are constantly disturbed by vibrations.
In an interview Wednesday, Huron County Commissioner Kurt Damrow said Monday's public hearing is the last chance for local units of government, including townships that have control of their zoning and have a wind turbine ordinance, to speak to the State of Michigan in regard to maintaining local control over setback requirements and noise limitations for wind developments. "What's on the line is whether local units of government will have a say in zoning, specifically (regarding) setbacks and noise," Damrow said.
Officials announced last week that the Michigan Public Service Commission will hold a public hearing later this month to garner public comment on the effect of wind turbine setback requirements and noise limitations under local zoning or other ordinances on wind energy development in wind energy resource zones. The hearing is set to begin at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 23 at the MPSC's office.
Following a public hearing on Wednesday, the Huron County Planning Commission approved a zoning ordinance amendment recommendation to add a complaint resolution section to the county's wind overlay zoning provisions. "It's up to them now," said Huron County Planning Commission Chairman Ted Sheldon, referring to the Huron County Board of Commissioners. Russ Lundberg, Huron County Building and Zoning director, explained the recommendation will be sent to the Huron County Board of Commissioners for adoption, rejection or modification.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm has dreams of bringing as many as 4,000 wind turbines to Michigan, making it the nation's 14th windiest state and a major player in wind power to attract green jobs and investment. But some people who have turbines as neighbors are pushing back against the winds of change, the Detroit Free Press reported Sunday.
In the Champagne household, there are two opinions on the whirling wind turbines that surround the family's home of 35 years. Gene Champagne is bothered by the thumping, rumbling sound of the blades that loom like giants over the house. The noise disturbs his sleep and destroys his TV reception. Flickering shadows from sun on the blades run around rooms. ...Opponents say tighter restrictions are needed. The wind industry says tougher rules will keep wind farms out of Michigan.
There were a flurry of opinions either in favor or opposed to the Thumb becoming a designated wind energy resource zone given Monday during the first of two public hearings that will be held in the state this month. There was standing room only at Monday's meeting, which was held at the Expo Center in Bad Axe. The meeting is part of an effort to receive comment from four regions in the state identified as having the highest level of wind energy harvest potential in a June 2 proposed report by the Wind Energy Resource Zone Board.
Epsilon Associates, Inc. of Massachusetts will be conducting a noise study at the Michigan I Wind Park next month, and the study was a focal point of conversation during the Huron County Wind Energy Subcommittee meeting. Russ Lundberg, Huron County Building and Zoning director, said he and Kurt Damrow, Huron County commissioner and head of the subcommittee, met with Rob O'Neal of Epsilon Associates earlier this month. The company was hired by John Deere Wind to complete the wind turbine noise study.
While the Huron County Wind Energy Subcommittee had expressed hope a state university would take the lead on a comprehensive heath study on the effects of wind turbine noise, it learned last week it's unlikely. Before last week's meeting, several subcommittee members met with Dr. Alfred Franzblau, University of Michigan Environmental Health Sciences professor, via teleconference to discuss the possibility of a noise study.
During last week's meeting of the Huron County Wind Energy Subcommittee, which was formed to address complaints about wind turbines from residents, Huron County Commissioner Kurt Damrow said a teleconference will take place in the near future, although a date has yet to be determined. Huron County Health Department officials, along with some members of the subcommittee, will discuss the protocol of a health study with the universities. Previous studies on the subject will be reviewed to determine their applicability to Huron County.
People are typically in favor of the idea of wind energy - until they're faced with the reality of gigantic, utility-sized turbines erected in their community. With utilities exploring potential wind power facilities in Ottawa and Allegan counties, a new study will give communities both sides of the blustery subject. ...The study will explore coastal wind energy in Ottawa, Allegan, Muskegon and Oceana counties both on land and in water.