Residents who were opposing the machines at Waxdale have assurances from SCJ, clearing the way for approval.
Now that residents have their concerns resolved, SC Johnson may very well have their wind turbine project approved. Mount Pleasant trustees will vote on SCJ’s proposal at the Dec. 12 Village Board meeting.
SC Johnson is asking for a conditional use permit to install two wind turbines in the northwest corner of their Waxdale manufacturing plant property. The facility is on 16th Street, between Willow Road and 90th Street, in Mount Pleasant. Originally slated for two or three turbines between 300 and 420 feet tall, the company scaled back the project because of residents’ concerns over noise, flicker pollution and potential sight issues.
At the Nov. 23 Planning Commission meeting, the vote came down to 2-2-1, meaning no action was taken, but the issue was allowed to move to the Village Board even without a recommendation.
Trustee Jerry Garski expects the turbines to generate some discussion but to eventually pass.
“Everything asked of SC Johnson was agreed to and they even went above and beyond, like bringing the plan from three to two and moving the machines as far away from residents as possible,” he said.
Mount Pleasant resident Tom Joy opposed the turbines because of the possible decline in his home values, lost TV and radio signals and noise and flicker pollution. He gathered 24 signatures from other homeowners in the area who agreed with him, but the petition did not qualify as a “protest petition” because it lacked strength in numbers; namely, needing 20 percent of the SC Johnson perimeter. A protest petition would have required a super majority vote of the board, 5-2, instead of a simple majority of 4-3, for approval.
Joy met with Gregg Anderegg and Chip Brewer from SC Johnson on Dec. 1 to successfully hash out the issues, and as a result, informed village officials he was withdrawing his petition.
“SC Johnson has met concerns of our protest in good faith with a creative compromise,” he wrote. “SC Johnson has demonstrated to me their willingness to work with property owners in the immediate area on future problems or concerns.”
Anderegg summarized the meeting with a memo to Mount Pleasant trustees and staff:
Landscaping – SC Johnson will plant trees on the Waxdale property according to DNR guidelines for wetland/wildlife management to help control flicker. If preferred, the company will also consider planting trees on the residents’ property if that is deemed an acceptable solution.
TV/Cell Service – After construction is complete, SC Johnson will meet with/talk with residents and address any possible concerns if they arise.
Noise – Decibel levels are projected to be at about 40 at the front door of the nearest resident to a turbine (2,000 feet), or about what is measured in a library. SC Johnson has agreed to take sound measurements after construction and take steps if necessar to remedy any issues.
Home Values – The company is acquiring properties around Waxdale at fair market value and will offer to do the same for any property owners along Willow Road and 90th Street now and in the future.
Christopher Beard, director of public affairs for SC Johnson said in a written statement:
Because we value the opinion of our neighbors, SC Johnson spent time listening to the concerns of those residents on Willow Road who were initially unhappy with the proposed wind turbines. We have worked with the residents and found locations on our property for the wind turbines that alleviated some of those concerns, as well as indicated a willingness to discuss additional landscaping between the Waxdale facility and Willow Road.
SC Johnson expects the wind turbines to generate 15 percent of the plant’s electricity. The company’s goal to produce 100 percent of the Waxdale’s energy needs onsite, with 60 percent coming from renewable sources.
The Village Board meeting begins at 7 pm at Village Hall, 8811 Campus Drive. Call (262) 664-7800.