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Planning commission schedules public hearing for Deerfield Wind Farm  

Credit:  By TRACI L. WEISENBACH, Tribune Staff Writer, www.michigansthumb.com 5 August 2011 ~~

HURON COUNTY – RES Americas is working toward developing a wind farm in four townships in the northeast corner of the county, and the company requested the scheduling of a public hearing regarding this project during Wednesday’s Huron County Planning Commission meeting.

Brad Lila, of RES Americas, asked the commission to set a hearing, during which the planning commission will set boundaries for the wind overlay district for the Deerfield Wind Farm. The project is proposed to be developed on 19 1⁄2 square miles in Dwight Township, 1 square mile in Lincoln Township, 6 square miles in Bloomfield Township and about 20 square miles in Huron Township. However, Huron Township governs its own zoning, rather than the county. The township does not have a wind overlay district; rather, it uses special use permits for wind farm development, according to county officials.

Therefore, the public hearing, which is set for 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5 at the Huron County Expo Center, would be for the planning commission to set wind overlay district boundaries in Dwight, Lincoln and Bloomfield townships for the Deerfield project. The public hearing is the initial step in planning a wind development project.

While the approval of the wind overlay district boundaries does not guarantee the project will come to fruition, as long as the wind development company meets the county’s ordinance standards the project can move forward to completion.

RES Americas also is working on the Pheasant Run wind farm development in portions of Fairhaven, Sebewaing, Brookfield, Winsor, Oliver and Grant townships. Because Sebewaing, Brookfield and Oliver townships are not under county zoning, those townships have to conduct their own public hearings to finalize zoning approval.

Lila has said about 260 landowners signed into the Pheasant Run project, which consists of about 34,000 acres under lease. He said the second project, Deerfield Wind Farm, consists of about 220 landowners and 26,000 acres.

In other business at Wednesday’s meeting, the planning commission approved a zoning classification change from General Industrial District to Agricultural District, as requested by Burroughs Materials Corporation, a.k.a. Wallace Stone Plant, in Bay Port. The zoning change would be for company-owned land located in a 317-acre area of McKinley Township. The purpose of the request was to have the company’s property in McKinley Township similarly zoned in those in Winsor and Fairhaven townships.

County officials said Burroughs Materials wishes to participate in a wind overlay district, and the land must be zoned agricultural for this purpose. A public hearing to set the boundaries for this wind overlay district would be the next step in the process.

A public hearing regarding the company’s request was conducted prior to the planning commission’s approval.

In other business, the planning commission:

• Approved a PA 116 partial termination request by ITCTransmission for a 40-acre parcel in southwest Sigel Township for the purpose of locating a transmission line substation for the Thumb Loop ITC line. Twenty acres of the parcel will be removed from PA 116, while the remaining 20 acres will remain in PA 116. The state needs to give final approval for this termination request.

• Conceded with the recommendations from the Brookfield Township Planning Commission regarding a wind energy overlay zoning ordinance amendment and conditional approval of a wind energy overlay district for Pheasant Run.

• Approved a site plan review for the new Hume Township hall, which will be 28 by 60 feet and will be located almost in the same location as the former hall, which will be demolished. The new building also will include an enclosed 6- by 12-foot entryway. Architect Shelley Herrington presented the site plan review.

• Accepted 31 PA 116 enrollment applications.

Source:  By TRACI L. WEISENBACH, Tribune Staff Writer, www.michigansthumb.com 5 August 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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