JOYFIELD TOWNSHIP – A Northern Michigan community is divided over a proposed wind power project set to break ground next year.
Joyfield Township Trustee, Mark Evans says, “It’s definitely divided the township. I have family members who are on opposite sides and it gets heated.”
Some residents in Joyfield Township aren’t rejoicing over a proposed wind power project in their backyards.
Joyfield Township resident, Matthew Emery says, “There are some serious concerns about the impact these turbines have on property value and standard of living. That is something we think is important.”
Duke Energy plans to build 112 wind turbines near the Manistee and Benzie County lines. The company tells 7&4 News that 100 landowners have signed contracts so far, 35% of Joyfield Township have given Duke Energy the green light. Residents would split a million dollars a year for use of the land.
Besides the noise, property value, and visual concern of the turbines, some residents are worried that Joyfield Township doesn’t have a zoning ordinance.
Evans says, “Back in April 2010, Benzie County stopped doing local zoning for our township.”
Without an ordinance providing guidelines, residents say they’re worried their rights won’t be protected. They’re also wondering if the issue will be addressed because three out of five township board members are part of the group that have already signed land contracts with Duke Energy.
Emery says, “How can they remain unbiased? I would like to see people who have concerns about this development get voice on the board. I don’t know if that means some members who have conflicts of interest resign, but something that allows us to address problems before the project breaks ground.”
Duke Energy officials says they already have self-imposed minimum guidelines, including sound level limits.
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