MADISON TWP., Mich. – Debate on commercial windmills may be taken to the Lenawee County Road Commission.
The Ogden Township board has asked to meet with the road commission board to discuss its policies, road commissioners were told Thursday by managing director Scott Merillat.
“They’re concerned about windmills first and foremost,” Merillat said. “They don’t think what we’re doing with windmills is enough.”
Ogden Township Supervisor Richard Marks said Friday his board wants to coordinate a proposed township ordinance with the county’s road regulations.
“We, as the Ogden Township board, are in the process of drafting our police power ordinance,” Marks said. Board members feel roads should be addressed, he said.
“We need to meet with the full board of the road commission to find out what their directions are and try to come to an agreement,” he said.
Ogden Township has been in the process of drafting a local ordinance to regulate a wind energy project proposed in Riga, Ogden and Palmyra townships.
Developers announced this month they plan to go elsewhere because of public opposition.
Blissfield Wind Energy LLC filed an amendment to its contract with Consumers Energy, seeking state approval to move the project from Lenawee County to Gratiot or Ionia counties.
Marks said the announcement is not affecting Ogden Township’s effort to complete an ordinance.
Road commissioners said Thursday they do not foresee any overhaul of a permit policy for commercial wind developments that they enacted just last month.
The new policy requires developers to submit a comprehensive plan for road maintenance before any permits are considered.
“It’s basically making them come in to the table and map out what they’re doing,” road commission attorney Jeffrey Juby said at a Dec. 15 hearing on road commission permit policies. Juby said Thursday it would not be practical to write detailed permit terms “in a vacuum.”
The road commission will not make it easy for anyone to come in and damage county roads, Merillat said.
“We’re not going to put restrictions on them to make it impossible for them to come in either,” he said.
The goal is to protect county roads, not prevent development, said road commissioner Robert Emery.
“We cannot in good conscience barricade a township in and refuse to allow use of public roads,” Emery said.
Road commissioners agreed to meet with Ogden Township representatives during a regular road commission board meeting at the agency’s Treat Highway headquarters. No dates have yet been arranged.
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