The Magnolia Township Planning and Zoning Commission voted 4-0 Thursday to recommend a revised ordinance regulating the construction of wind turbines in the township. The ordinance now moves to the town board for approval.
Kevin Kawula, an active resident in the wind turbine discussion, supported the proposed ordinance for its compromise.
The revised ordinance states wind turbines could be constructed within the half-mile limit if the property owner agrees.
“Many of us wish (the half-mile setback) was farther,” he said. “But we are willing to give a half-mile a try and compromise.”
Turbines constructed under property-owner agreement become added to the deed of the property as a stipulation of the ordinance presented Thursday in another difference from the original proposal. That is, if the owner has the turbine constructed closer than a half-mile and decides to sell the property, the turbine is sold along with the property and the buyer cannot dispute the location of the turbine.
“It leaves people an option,” planning and zoning commission member Gordon Klitzman said of the stipulation.
About 20 people braved the driving rains of the evening’s thunderstorms to voice their opinions before the vote took place during the commission’s second public hearing of the regulatory ordinance.
“Our biggest concern is the health and safety of the residents,” said town Treasurer Graceanne Toberman, who supports the ordinance. “I hope the half-mile will protect them.”
Town board member Kurt Bartlett said he approved the ordinance despite his concern that a half-mile still will not be far enough away from properties.
“(A half-mile) is much better than 1,000 feet,” he said. “And if someone wants to sign off on their health and safety, it’s just like cigarette smoking—we can’t regulate it completely.”
The board could address and adopt the ordinance at its next meeting in July. Until then, no wind turbines may be constructed. On Tuesday, the town board decided unanimously to extend a moratorium on the construction of wind turbines an additional three months or until the board approves an ordinance. The moratorium expires Oct. 17 unless the board acts sooner.
— Any construction of wind turbines used to generate electricity must be built at least a half-mile from any residential or commercial structure, or at least 1,000 feet from a property line.
— Wind turbines could be built closer than the half-mile if property owners grant permission to do so. However, the turbines cannot be built closer than 1,000 feet or three times the height of the turbines, whichever is closer.
— If a resident does allow turbines to be built closer than the half-mile, the wind turbine will be placed on the deed of the property and is transferred with the property and cannot be contested by the new owners.
By Ryan Dostalek
13 June 2008
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