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Wind ordinance approved at Saugatuck Twp. board meeting

KEY ACTION
The Saugatuck Township board on, Sept. 7, approved a new wind ordinance. The rules control where turbines can be placed, how high they can be and the amount of noise they can make.

DISCUSSION
Township Supervisor Bill Wester opposed the ordinance, calling turbines “disgusting and an eyesore.” He was the only board member to vote against the ordinance.

The township cannot be selective in zoning and ban an “undesirable use,” said Trustee Jim Hanson, who also serves on the planning commission that spent more than a year drafting the proposal.

Saugatuck Township has been listed as a prime area for wind power and the Holland Board of Public Works is studying turbine locations in Saugatuck and Ganges townships.

The ordinance limits wind farms to the southern side of the township, which is mostly agricultural land, and allows the turbine and tower to be 500 feet tall.

OTHER ACTION
The township is asking Singapore Dunes LLC to pay for half of an unexpected $319.26 bill from Saugatuck Public Schools for a July 22 public hearing about a lawsuit filed by developer Aubrey McClendon. This is the first time the township has been billed for using the school, said Wright. The bill includes $117.88 for wages, $33.38 for benefits and $168 for cleaning.

NEXT MEETING
The Saugatuck Township board meets at 6 p.m., Oct. 5, at the township hall, 3461 Blue Star Highway.