PALMYRA TWP., Mich. – An ordinance covering wind turbines was approved Monday by the Palmyra Township Planning Commission.
On a unanimous vote, the commission sent the ordinance on to the Lenawee County Planning Commission for action at the 6 p.m. meeting Thursday, Aug. 18, in the county courthouse. Township supervisor Jim Isley said no matter what action the county board takes, he would prefer the township board not take action at the Sept. 1 meeting.
“I’d like to sit on this for a couple of weeks so I can study it,” he said.
Palmyra is in line to become the second Lenawee County township with an ordinance covering wind turbines that would generate electricity to be sold to Consumers Energy and Detroit Edison. Riga Township adopted an amendment to its zoning ordinance July 6. That ordinance could be the subject of a referendum vote in November.
The Palmyra Township Planning Commission made some wording changes and clarifications to the ordinance prior to taking the vote Monday. The ordinance mandates a turbine be set back from the nearest inhabited structure a distance of no less than two times the turbine’s height.
In addition, the height is limited to 330 feet from the the tip of the blade at its highest point to the existing grade of the ground. The noise is limited to 45 decibels (dBA) when measured at an occupied structure, 50 dBA when measured at an unoccupied structure.
Prior to the vote, planning commissioner Perry Pooley read a statement supporting the ordinance.
“This ordinance isn’t perfect. I don’t agree with all of it,” he said. “But it is the best we can do, and I support this ordinance as written.”
During the public comments, about half of the 14 speakers were from Palmyra. Several members of the Interstate Informed Citizen’s Coalition, a group opposed to the turbines, urged the commission to make the ordinance as tough and stringent as possible.
“I urge you to err on the side of being conservative. I think that’s what the Riga board did,” Jane Sieler of Palmyra said. “The advantage of having an ordinance similar to Riga’s is that you would at least be aligned in making a unified defense.”
Riga Township ordinance requires the setback from properties without a wind turbine to be four times the height of a turbine and limits the sound level to 40 decibels between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. and 45 decibels between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. It limits turbines to no more than 500 feet tall.
Along with the comments from Palmyra residents, people from Ogden and Riga townships also spoke in support of the stricter guidelines.
Larry Gould, president of Great Lakes Wind LLC, said he is pleased with the progress the townships have made with their ordinances. Great Lakes is one of three interests seeking to put wind turbines in several townships in Lenawee County.
Jim Leonard, planning commission chairman, said the ordinance would be available for public viewing on the township website after today. The website is www.palmyratownship.net.
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