PALMYRA TWP., Mich. – The Palmyra Township board concluded its review of a zoning ordinance for wind turbines, but adjourned Tuesday without taking action on it.
The Lenawee County Planning Commission meets at 6 p.m. Thursday to review the ordinance. The township board will either set a special meeting or wait until the regular meeting of Nov. 3 to take action.
“We’ve done what we set out to do, reviewing it section by section,” Supervisor Jim Isley said.
The ordinance will set limits on the construction, location and operations of wind turbines in Palmyra Township. The township planning commission worked for more than six months to draft the ordinance, approving it in August. The township board has had a series of meetings in September and October to review the proposal and to hear public input.
The Blissfield Wind Energy project plans to erect wind turbines in southeastern Lenawee County. Riga Township adopted a wind turbine ordinance in July and Ogden Township, which has no zoning, has deferred further work on a police power ordinance until after the Nov. 8 election.
At the company’s open house Oct. 4, officials from Great Lakes LLC, which is pushing the project in conjunction with Exelon Wind, said the project has been scaled back to 45 to 50 wind turbines in Ogden Township. Electricity generated by the turbines would be sold to Consumers Energy.
Larry Gould, president of Great Lakes Wind, said at the open house that the company still has leases in Riga and Palmyra townships, but no plans at this time to site wind turbines. Those plans, he said, are subject to change.
The Palmyra ordinance has setback limits of 1,320 feet from a turbine to the habitable structure of a non-participating landowner. Noise limits were set at 50 decibels up to 1,320 feet from habitable structures on participating properties and 40 decibels for non-participating properties. In addition, wording regulating electromagnetic interference on radio and television signals is also included in the ordinance.
According to studies on noise levels, onversation at home is about 50 decibels and libraries are about 40 decibels. Quiet, rural areas are typically about 30 decibels.
A complaint resolution process was changed by the board from the planning commission recommendation. Instead of the planning commission handling complaints, the ordinance stipulates the zoning administrator would head a committee appointed by the township board. This group would hear complaints and recommend solutions.
The zoning administrator will also receive annual reports from wind turbine developers. A final section added by township attorney Frank Riley said that if any part of the ordinance is ruled unconstitutional by a court of law, all other parts of the ordinance will continue in effect.
Copies of the proposed ordinance are available upon request from Palmyra Township.
Prior to the board’s review of the ordinance, 12 people spoke during the public comment, many in opposition to the turbines. Trustee Steve Papenhagen submitted photographs from Richard Marks, interim supervisor for Ogden Township. Marks recently took an aerial tour of the wind turbine farm near Paulding, Ohio.
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