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County approves wind overlay district  

Credit:  By TRACI L. WEISENBACH, Tribune Staff Writer, Huron Daily Tribune, www.michigansthumb.com 24 February 2011 ~~

BAD AXE – On a 5-2 vote, the Huron County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution to expand the Wind Energy Overlay District No. 1 in McKinley Township, which will be for the expansion of the Harvest Wind Farm that also will include Chandler and Oliver townships.

The resolution amends the zoning map by adding a wind energy facility overlay district classification to land within Sections 35 and 36 in McKinley Township, which is under county zoning regulations. Sections 35 and 36 are located between Campbell and Berne roads to the north and south, and Caseville and Gagetown roads to the west and east.

Chandler and Oliver townships have their own zoning boards.

The two commissioners to oppose the resolution were Chairman Ron Wruble and Financial Committee Chairman Dave Peruski.

In an interview with the Huron Daily Tribune Wednesday, Peruski said the primary reason why he voted no is because he believes the county’s current noise ordinance for wind farms does not adequately protect non-participating land owners. He believes the county’s noise ordinance for wind farms is too lenient.

According to the ordinance, the ambient noise level standard used for enforcement purposes is L10 or below. Ambient noise level measures commonplace noises in an area being tested, without the operation of wind turbines. The L10 standard is the noise which is commonplace in the area being tested for 10 percent of an hour.

Peruski believes the county should use the L90 or LEQ standard should be used to determine the ambient noise level. L90 is that noise which is commonplace for 90 percent of an hour. LEQ is the average ambient noise level within an hour.

“As long as we have our current noise ordinance, I will vote no (on wind overlay districts),” Peruski said, noting he’s been consistent with this in previous meetings.

County officials have noted the L90 standard is being considered for the county’s noise ordinance; however, no action has been taken on this to date.

Peruski said he’s also concerned about the participating land owners and protection against any litigation. He said from land owner contracts he’s reviewed, most say the wind energy company will hold the land owner harmless and/or indemnify the land owner. He said this means if the land owner incurs any attorney fees, he or she needs to wait for the energy company to reimburse them. He noted while this is common language in such contracts, he believes it doesn’t provide enough protection for land owners.

Read the full version of this article in the Huron Daily Tribune or online in our e-Edition.

Source:  By TRACI L. WEISENBACH, Tribune Staff Writer, Huron Daily Tribune, www.michigansthumb.com 24 February 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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