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Stanton Township crafting new wind ordinance

Stanton Township held a public hearing Wednesday night on a proposed wind farm, with most speaking out against the idea. Between there and neighboring Adams Township, Circle Power hopes to install a combined 12 turbines. Supervisor John Mattila says that a new ordinance is set to be drawn up thanks to feedback given at the meeting. He lays out the process going forward.

Once we get an ordinance in place, we’ll have to introduce it. Then have another public hearing on the completed ordinance, and then at a later date, it will have to be voted on by the township board.

Mattila said that once the document has been drafted, more details about what conditions the ordinance contains will be made available.

Many of the same residents participated in the Houghton County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday. Member Tom Tikkanen said he was sympathetic to their cause and referenced conversations he had in the past with Huron County officials. Keweenaw Report reached out to those officials as well to see what their ordinance contains, as it could provide clues to the types of conditions being considered here.

Huron County is located at the tip of “The Thumb” of Michigan, about 100 miles north of Detroit. It is a peninsula with around 90 miles of shoreline on Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron, giving it some similar characteristics to the Keweenaw. Building and Zoning Director Jeff Smith says there are 472 wind turbines operating within the county. There have been incidents where blades have been cracked by lightning strikes, some have fallen off, and two turbines have caught fire, but both of those were a model considered obsolete now.

Smith says flicker rate, setbacks, surety bonds for dismantling the structures at the end of their useful life, and noise are the trickiest issues to deal with for Huron County. Smith also referenced the Michigan Tall Structure Act and its requirements, including Federal Aviation Administration approval. He says Huron County’s policy requires that all of those requirements be met before he will even begin entertain an application.

A copy of their wind energy zoning ordinance can be found here.

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