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Towering issues in township; Wind generators, cell phone towers bring up zoning questions  

With wind energy becoming a hot topic in Michigan, Sturgis Township officials want to know what they should do if someone decides to build a wind tower.

The subject of township zoning and wind towers came up Monday afternoon when Supervisor George Morse said he read an item in the township law newsletter.

There is no ordinance in the township pertaining to wind towers or cellular telephone towers.

“Two weeks ago I saw a set of blades come through here that caught my attention. They were huge,” Morse said.

Others at the meeting said they’ve also seen the blades being hauled through Sturgis.

“Since we’re making changes in our zoning ordinance, I’d like to see the planning commission look at regulations for wind towers along with cell towers,” Morse said.

Most wind machines being used today are the horizontal-axis type, according to information provided by a U.S. government report.

A typical horizontal wind machine can stand as tall as a 20-story building and have three blades that span 200 feet across.

Another form of wind machine known as the vertical-axis has blades that from top to bottom and resemble a giant two-bladed egg beater.

Vertical wind machines typically stand 100 feet tall and are 50 feet wide and make up only a small percent of wind machines used today.

Wind machines generate electricity in more than 25 states. Most of them are found in California, Texas, Iowa, Minnesota and Oklahoma.

Township clerk Jo Hovarter serves on the planning commission and said she would bring it up at the next meeting later this month.

By Terry Katz

Sturgis Journal

7 January 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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