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Planning commission to continue work on wind farm plans

The Mason County Planning Commission will meet tonight to continue discussing Consumers Energy’s special land use application for a proposed wind farm in Riverton and Summit townships.

Public comments on Consumers Energy’s special land use application for its proposed wind farm were completed last week. Last Thursday, commissioners met to begin discussing the application before making a decision on it.

The planning commission is set to meet at 6:30 p.m. in the North Lounge of West Shore Community College’s Administration and Conference Building. Another planning commission meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the same location.

Several work sessions were held to familiarize planning commissioners in the weeks prior to the public hearing, with experts hired by Consumers Energy brought in to explain different aspects of the project.

Property values studied

At last week’s public hearing, members of Citizens Alliance for Responsible Renewable Energy, presented information from experts they hired that is contrary to Consumers Energy’s.

The group has worked with Michael McCann, who completed a property value study and said that if the wind farm in Riverton and Summit townships is completed, property owners stand to lose more than $27 million collectively with individual losses from properties studied estimated to range from $34,000 to $113,000.

In his report, McCann wrote:

“Even if most of the area owners never put their homes on the market and lose equity via sale at the impacted values, the loss of equity in their occupied homes still results in financial loss. This magnitude of impact is considered severe, and avoiding such impacts is one of the purposes of zoning and special use standards for project approval.”