HURON COUNTY – “This is the last leg of the journey.”
That is how Russ Lundberg, the county’s director of building and zoning, described the Huron County Planning Commission’s approval of the site plan review of Phase One of Noble Environmental Power’s wind turbines project.
The board approved the site plan review during its Wednesday meeting following a request by Noble to erect five additional turbines in Sheridan Township, bringing the overall total of wind turbines to be erected in Huron County to 46.
Noble Development Manager Jeanette Hagen the site plan review is definitely a good thing to have in order to move the project along.
“Now that we have the site plan review, we then come back for soil erosion control plan application approval, then apply for a construction permit,” she said.
Also during Wednesday’s meeting, Hagen briefly spoke about Phase II of the project which will take place in Delaware, Minden and Marian townships located in Sanilac County, and involve the installation of 60 turbines.
“So combined with Phase I, a total of 106 turbines would tie into the (electric) grid,” she said.
In other business, the planning commission heard from Linn Smith, of the Michigan Department of Transportation Aeronautical Division, as part of the process of creating an airport zoning ordinance.
He said an airport zoning ordinance would do away with any inconsistencies present between county zoning and other village, city and township zoning. The ordinance also would set a safer height restriction than the restrictions currently in place at the federal and state levels.
Lundberg said the process of creating an airport zoning ordinance began four years ago when the Huron County Board of Commissioners designated the Huron County Planning Commission to serve as an airport zoning commission that would recommend an airport zoning ordinance.
Smith said it was during that time that the state created a model ordinance free of charge that the county could adopt.
However, due to budget cuts, everything was put on hold because the county couldn’t afford to further the process of adopting an airport zoning ordinance because it involved, among other things, special meetings and a public hearing. Smith said the next step in the process is for the planning commission to review the model ordinance and make any changes if it so desires, and hold a public hearing. Then the recommended ordinance would go to the Huron County Board of Commissioners for approval.
Lundberg said the planning commission will continue on with the process, but an airport zoning ordinance probably won’t be adopted any time too soon.
“Are we going to adopt something next month? No. Are we going to continue the process next month? Yes,” he said.
By Kate Finneren-Hessling
12 July 2007
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