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Family sued by neighbor over wind tower  

Credit:  by Lauren Amstutz, www.upnorthlive.com 17 January 2011 ~~

LEELANAU COUNTY – In the last few years government officials have encouraged people to embrace green energy, and that is just what one Leelanau County family did. Now they are being sued.

Penny and Shandy Spencer built a 112-foot wind tower on their property to generate electricity for their Centerville Township home.

Shandy Spencer says, “We talked about the fact that it is good for environment. We felt a lot of people talk about going green, but we were really going to put money where our mouth was.”

It wasn’t an easy process. The Spencers’ attended informational meetings, met with consultants, and applied for a Land Use Permit. Centerville Township Zoning Administrator, Tim Cypher, approved the permit since their home was in the Agriculture District and the wind tower is less than 150-feet tall.

Spencer says, “It has only been three months, so it is hard to gauge, but right now it is generating enough electricity for our entire home.”

Now the Spencers’ are being sued by their neighbors, Richard and Kay Kobetz, whose home is approximately 750-feet away from the wind tower.

In a complaint filed in 13th District Court, the Kobetzes say the wind tower’s motion, flash, and flicker is causing them to suffer from nausea, headaches, and fatigue. They also say it is reducing their property value. Grand Rapids attorney, Aaron Phelps, who is representing the Kobetzes released a statement to 7&4 News.

Phelps says, “The turbine was sited in such a manner that its blades flash light into the living spaces of the Kobetz home. These negative effects are well documented and could have been avoided prior to construction, but were not.”

The Spencers’ also have plans to hire a lawyer to fight the case. No court date has been made yet, but 7&4 News will continue to follow this story.

Source:  by Lauren Amstutz, www.upnorthlive.com 17 January 2011

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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