Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Michigan
After a lengthy discussion, an Almer Township Board meeting took a strange turn on Tuesday night when Planning Committee liaison Brian Schriber told the Board he felt they didn't need to enact a moratorium on special use permits for wind turbines as recommended on a 6-1 vote of the planning commission. A motion was made to follow Schriber's suggestion and passed with abstentions from Township Supervisor Jim Miklovic and Trustee Michael Putnam.
County planners want more time and input before taking action on DTE Energy’s plan to build 50 to 70 wind turbines in Huron County.
Tussey said he and other members of the concerned citizens group believe it was that pressure that led township officials to quickly enact what the concerned citizens have called a weak ordinance. They say what was adopted in Ellington Township was more about how many turbines can fit into one space and less about health, safety and overall impact on the community. “That pressure led them to not research the details of the ordinance.
All members of the Lincoln Township Board of Trustees signed a letter dated March 16 in opposition to the proposed overlay. “We feel that Huron County has done our part as far as Green Energy. We feel that no additional turbines should be allowed in Huron County,” the letter succinctly states.
In a standing-room only meeting at the Ellington Township Hall, the board voted unanimously in favor of a 120-day moratorium. ...Before voting on the moratorium, the board also voted unanimously to ask the Ellington Township Planning Commission to evaluate where turbines should be allowed in relation to property lines.
The meeting was advertised through a piece of paper posted at the township office 18 hours before the meeting, Block said. The board went into executive session with its lawyer during the March 22 meeting and afterward voted on a new moratorium that stayed all future wind development except Exelon’s project.
The Planning Commission voted to table the matter until they can go through more documents. They will schedule a special meeting to vote on the wind overlay district zoning.
Commissioners in Tuscola County spent hours of their Thursday morning meeting listening to Almer and Ellington Township residents frustrated by the perceived lack of attention paid to them by their respective township planning committees regarding the zoning of wind turbines.
Tussey said he had additional concerns, as well, including the fact that as the board discussed ordinance changes, there was a lot of two-way exchange between planning commissioners and representatives of NextEra and Spicer. He told the board it was concerning the public was shut out of the two-way discussion and could not have any input until after the board voted.
In the space of about a week, three Sanilac County townships put a stay on wind energy development, and a fourth is considering the same possibility. Marion Township, one of the future sites for a planned Exelon wind project, approved a moratorium on wind energy development ...On Tuesday, voters in Argyle and Wheatland townships voted down their wind energy ordinances.
The Ellington Township Planning Commission meeting Wednesday felt like a court hearing as two sides tried to make their case for planners to revisit – or not revisit – the community’s existing wind turbine-related ordinances. After three hours, the meeting was adjourned before anything was resolved.
Officials in Tuscola County’s Elmwood Township have enacted a one-year moratorium on construction of wind turbines, citing a need to “better protect the public health, safety and welfare” of residents.
Faced with a referendum in August, questions about conflict of interest, and a decade-old zoning law, officials here have placed a temporary hold on a proposed windmill project. Exelon Generation, which wants to construct a total of 68 windmills in Marion and Bridgehampton townships, has run into a buzz-saw of opposition.
“It’s important that the community know the short-term, mid-term, and long-term consequences of having turbines in the community,” Tussey said. “It’s not a situation where, if you don’t like it, you can just turn it off. It’s more akin to building a bridge, and once a bridge is built, it’s built.” Tussey plans to work with the concerned citizens in Ellington Township on an educational campaign intended to deliver straight facts about turbines – and not just at public meetings held during major snowstorms.
Residents of Ellington Township planned last night to ask township Supervisor Duane Lockwood to recuse himself from any further decisions regarding wind turbines in the community – and have threatened to file a lawsuit if it doesn’t happen.
Wheatland Township voters will have their say on March 8 over an amendment to the township’s zoning ordinance that sets up special parameters for wind turbines. The township’s board adopted the measure Sept. 12, and residents petitioned the language go to a public vote three months later.
A top Tuscola County official said it was “very disconcerting” that at least one Ellington Township official struck a deal to lease land to NextEra Energy Resources – and has been involved in setting ordinances for wind turbines.
“Day after day, month after month, the wind developers are relentless in trying to force wind turbines in our townships in locations where the turbines will be negatively affecting the residents’ health, safety and welfare,” said Ellington Township resident Bobbie Mozden. “Board members, please revise the wind ordinance and protect our township residents.”
Roger Knight feels township officials shouldn’t have voted on the windmill zoning ordinance changes because of their leases with Exelon, a company with plans to construct 68 windmills across three Sanilac County townships. “It’s the wrong way of doing business,” Knight said. “There’s nothing fair about it.”
On the same day the governor signed into law a plan to fix Michigan roads, ending a lengthy debate in the Legislature, a local agreement was also reached: Huron County has a new, stricter and more defined rulebook to govern wind turbines.