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Ogden Township backs citizens committee work on wind ordinance

OGDEN TWP., Mich. – The Ogden Township board unanimously voted Tuesday to follow through with its citizens committee work on a police power ordinance for wind turbines, rather than hear a formal agreement proposal from the wind turbine developers.

The board did accept the information handout from representatives of Excelon Wind’s project during public comment. At the start of the meeting, however, Supervisor Richard Marks said the board was going to stand by its August decision to not make any immediate decisions on any kind of ordinance regulating wind turbines. Marks said the board would wait for the results of the Nov. 8 election.

“We extended our six-month moratorium in August and will let the citizens committee work on formulating an ordinance,” he said. “They will do a thorough job.”

Marks, who has been a trustee, was appointed supervisor and Alice Clark was appointed as clerk following the Aug. 2 recalls of Supervisor Jim Goetz and Clerk Phyllis Gentz. The pair are serving until the November election and both are seeking voter approval to finish the terms that run through 2012.

Clark had been defeated in the 2008 election by Gentz. Also in August, Russell Mead was appointed to finish Marks’ term.

Because the township does not have zoning, Ogden’s citizens committee is weighing the benefits of a police power ordinance, which can take the place of zoning in special instances, said Clark. Such an ordinance could set limits on sound, setback, flicker effect and set other regulations regarding wind turbines.

Excelon, in partnership with Great Lakes Wind LLC, is seeking to locate 47 wind turbines in Ogden Township in 2012. Doug Duimering, project manager for Excelon, told the audience that the Blissfield Wind Energy (BWE) project, as it is called, has agreements with two other interests in developing the project. Duimering said the agreements with Juwi Wind Corp. and Orisol consolidates the project into 70 leases over 200 parcels in Ogden.

If developed, the project would have a total footprint of more than 12,500 acres or nearly half of the property in Ogden Township. Developers presented an agreement proposal for consideration instead of the police power ordinance.

During his comments, Marks also reported that the township’s legal counsel had concerns over the proposal from BWE. Trustee Mark VanDenBusche moved that the board continue to follow through with the citizens committee work on a police power ordinance. The resolution was approved unanimously.

“Rest assured, we will be fair to everybody,” Marks said.

The citizens committee meets again at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 25, in the township hall.