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Wind turbine troubles

Anti wind mill proponents say they will seek a recall if Sherman Township officials do not put a one-year moratorium on developing zoning standards for wind turbines.

Save Our Sherman volunteer Ed Morton said he is worried that Sherman Township may become a wind turbine wasteland.

“Let’s not jump on the bandwagon right away. I would like to see some more studies done before they shove this thing down our throats,” Morton said. “Let’s just see how things go out in Stoney Corners. Give it some time. Then maybe I’ll change my mind,” he said.

SOS volunteers say negative effects of close proximity wind turbines include excessive droning noise and “flicker,” an annoyance which occurs when the turbine lies between the sun’s rays and the residence, causing constant natural light fluctuations.

Another concern for some residents is the possibility of decreased property values and visual aesthetic.

Save Our Sherman volunteers mailed a survey to township residents asking if they approved of wind mills being built in the township.

Attached to the survey was a synopsis of the SOS’ stance regarding utility-grade wind development, as well as an excerpt from a blog written by a family in Illinois entitled “Our Life with DeKalb Wind Turbines.”

According to a statement made in the survey mailing, “If township officers continue to refuse to adopt a one-year moratorium, they will have demonstrated their intention to force wind development in Sherman no matter what residents want.”

The township Planning Commission sent out its own survey asking Sherman Township residents whether they oppose or support wind development in the area.

Chairman Ron Moesta explained that the results of the Planning Commission survey tended to lean toward opposition of windmill development, but not by an overwhelming margin.

“We voted against the moratorium because we don’t think we need it,” said Moesta, who explained that it would take longer than a year for any windmill agreement to be made anyway, without a moratorium.

He also said that the commission voted to establish new ordinance standards emphasizing sound rather than setback standards.

Last November a referendum vote was held to repeal the original section on windmill setback standards. The section was repealed based on this vote.

“Opponents and proponents both wanted a repeal because proponents of wind development felt the setback distance was too far, while opponents felt it wasn’t far enough,” said Board Supervisor David Eggle, who is one of three board members under threat of possible recall.

According to Eggle, four years ago the planning commision was instructed by the board to investigate the optimal distance that should be established between a residence and a wind turbine.

The board decided on a setback distance of 1,750 feet, which according to Moesta, is 250 feet farther than the recomended requirement of 1,500 feet.

Moesta went on to describe the claims of some volunteers of the SOS as “Pure speculation and conjecture.” He added that he believed the survey sent out by the SOS was biased because it came attached with the group’s stance regarding the issue.

The new windmill standards will be set using Wexford County’s standard as a model.

“We are trying to find a fair and equitable solution with consideration for all the people in the township. That’s what we always do,” stated Moesta.