December 11, 2011

Papers filed for Palmyra Township wind turbine referendum

By David Frownfelder, Daily Telegram, 9 December 2011

PALMYRA TWP., Mich. – Backers of a petition drive to force a referendum vote in Palmyra Township turned in their petitions on Wednesday, township clerk Samantha Meyer said this morning. If confirmed, a vote on a wind turbine ordinance would be set on the next available election day.

Josh Nolan, a director of the Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition (IICC), said the petitions contained signatures of 238 registered Palmyra Township voters. He said 110 signatures were required to force a vote.

“As many of you are aware, the IICC has helped coordinate the passing of petitions in Palmyra Township to place the industrial wind turbine zoning ordinance recently enacted by the Palmyra Township Board up for referendum,” Nolan wrote in an email. “The IICC and numerous Palmyra residents believe that the setbacks and sound limits contained in that ordinance provide insufficient protection from the dangers of irresponsibly sited industrial wind turbines.”

County clerk Roxann Holloway said once the signatures have been confirmed, Meyer will contact the county about an election date. The first available date would be May 8, she said. The deadline to make the February election date passed Wednesday.

If the referendum reaches the ballot, the vote would determine the fate of a wind turbine ordinance approved by the township board in October. The ordinance would require a setback from non-participating properties of no less than twice the height of the turbine. The maximum noise level of 45 decibels would be measured from any inhabitable building on a non-participating property.

A vote upholding a more stringent ordinance in Riga Township was passed Nov. 8. The Ogden Township board is working on an ordinance governing wind turbines in that township.

Officials from Great Lakes LLC, one of the groups seeking to place wind turbines in Lenawee County, said the Riga vote ended the company’s interest in building there. Projects are still planned for Palmyra and Ogden townships, said Doug Duimering, a project manager with Exelon Wind, one of the project partners.

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