RIGA – Riga Township residents will vote Tuesday, Nov. 8, whether or not to adopt an amendment to Riga’s zoning ordinance that regulates industrial wind energy development.
The ordinance amendment requires that utility-scale wind turbines be set back from the homes of residents who lease their land to developers by a distance no less than 2.5 times the turbine’s height. They must be set back a distance of four times the turbine height from the property lines of residents who do not enter into agreements with developers.
Wind turbines may not produce sound levels exceeding 45 decibels during the day and 40 decibels at night. There are also requirements concerning “shadow flicker,” turbine decommissioning and more.
Wind energy developers say the regulations make industrial wind energy development in the township impossible. Some Riga residents say this deprives the township of potential tax revenue and denies landowners the right to lease their property to developers in exchange for payments.
The amendment’s supporters say it is protective of the health, safety, welfare and property values of local residents.
The board passed the ordinance amendment by unanimous vote, with treasurer Richard Beagle abstaining.
The ballot language reads:
“Shall the Riga Township Zoning Ordinance be amended, as described in the Riga Township Zoning Amendment, Ordinance No. 32, to allow regulations on wind energy systems within Riga Township?”
If the majority of voters select “YES,” the amendment will be adopted and the regulations will take effect. If the majority of voters select “NO,” the Riga Township Planning Commission will make changes to the amendment which had been passed and send the revised draft to the township board for approval.
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