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Seeking a balance; Planners discuss wind turbine setback, noise  

Credit:  Jennifer Linn Hartley, Staff Writer, Ludington Daily News, www.ludingtondailynews.com 19 January 2011 ~~

AMBER TWP. – Setbacks and noise levels for wind turbines were the topics of discussion Tuesday for the Mason County Planning Commission, which is now meeting weekly.

The commission is to decide whether to approve a Mason County Zoning Ordinance amendment request proposed by concerned residents, who requested more stringent rules after Consumers Energy proposed 56 nearly 500-foot-tall turbines for the Riverton and Summit townships.

The zoning amendment addresses the group’s concerns with wind farm regulations in the county, including issues with setbacks, flicker, bats and road repairs and maintenance.

Two weeks ago, the commission set meeting dates – weekly for the next few weeks – to go over the amendment.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the commission initially began talking about sound requirements in the zoning ordinance, but shifted to setbacks after deciding the two were related and that setbacks would have an impact on deciding sound levels.

Planning commissioner Bruce Patterson said the setbacks in the current zoning ordinance are too close at two times the height of the turbine, making the setbacks 952 feet for these 476-foot-tall turbines.

The zoning amendment change request calls for setbacks of 1.25 miles – 6,600 feet – from a turbine, a distance which commissioners said might be too far and could eliminate Consumers’ whole project.

Patterson said the minimum setback required should be at least a quarter-mile – 1,320 feet. Another number brought up was 1,500 feet.

The current ordinance setbacks relate directly to the height of the turbine, something the commission also discussed.

The planning commission also discussed having different noise regulations for night and daytime and having a pre-construction sound analysis done on the area.

For the complete story see today’s Daily News.

[rest of article available at source]

Source:  Jennifer Linn Hartley, Staff Writer, Ludington Daily News, www.ludingtondailynews.com 19 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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