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Riga Township wind turbine meeting postponed

RIGA TWP., Mich. —

An overflow crowd forced Riga Township officials to postpone a special meeting of the township board Thursday.

The board was scheduled to act on the proposed wind turbine ordinance drafted and approved in May by the township planning commission. Supervisor Jeff Simon said a large crowd had been expected, but not this big.

“It is obvious that we have more people here than we can handle,” he said. “We will have to reschedule at a building where everybody has room and can be heard.”

Simon and Michael Homier, the attorney contracted to help write the ordinances, said the meeting information will be posted in accordance with the Open Meetings Act. Homier said the meeting will not take place at the township hall. Simon said officials will look for a location that can accommodate the large crowd.

“It was a wise decision he made to postpone tonight,” said Kevon Martis, a former member of the township planning commission. “We expected a large number of people to turn out and are pleased with the number of people who came.”

Martis was not reappointed to the commission when his term expired in December. He is a director of the Interstate Informed Citizen’s Coalition, a group that was organized in opposition to the siting of wind turbines in Lenawee County and northwest Ohio.

Great Lakes Wind LLC is one of three interests seeking to put up wind turbines to generate electricity that will be sold to Consumers Energy and Detroit Edison. Riga Township’s zoning ordinance has no provisions to cover such structures, and the township planning commission has been working for almost a year to draw up an ordinance.

A number of audience members were wearing T-shirts showing their opposition. The bright yellow shirts were printed with the words “2 tall, 2 many, 2 close, iiccusa.org” on the front and a silhouette of a wind turbine on the back with the caption “Just plain wrong.”

Simon said the rescheduled meeting will be posted on the township’s website and at the township hall. Officials will also contact the media to inform the public of the date, time and location.