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Airport zoning board of appeals approves height, zoning location for 31 proposed wind turbines  

Credit:  By Jon Szerlag, The Ionia Sentinel-Standard, www.sentinel-standard.com 13 February 2012 ~~

IONIA COUNTY, Mich. – Ionia County Airport Zoning Board of Appeals approved 31 proposed wind turbines that are to be placed within the zoning radius of the airport Monday.

TCI Renewables is looking at placing up to 50 wind turbines around the village of Lake Odessa. The project is called the Tupper Lake Project. Thirty-one of the wind turbines are within 10 miles of the airport and exceed the maximum height requirements set in a zoning ordinance.

Board members heard and reviewed findings of how the height will not hinder or place pilots who use the airport in danger, and that there would be hardships for relocating the 31 turbines outside of the airport’s zoning radius.

“From studying the material and the presentation today, we will be within the allowable perimeters of flight, aviation and use perimeters for this project with the variances,” said board member Jim Banks. “It seems to me, the applicants have gone through great length to comply with the rules: Proper set back from houses, streams, villages and cities. In doing so, they are slightly over the high requirements and I find that it will be appropriate for us to consider (the ordinance variants).”

The turbines will stand roughly 500 feet in the air. Linn Smith, with the Michigan Department of Transportation Airport Division, stated this will not place pilots in danger who are landing or taking-off from the Ionia County Airport.

“They have amply demonstrated that there is no clear or present danger to the airport or any adverse function of the airport,” said board member Wayne DePotty.

The 31 proposed wind turbines have been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration and the MDOT’s Airport Division.

“We are very pleased,” said TCI Renewables Project Developer Hew Roberts. “Things went well today. The board was very receptive and thorough. The project has excellent community support … and the county (administration) was very helpful by the way it was coordinated. It helped make the process run smoothly.”

Roberts explained that this was just one part of permits the project needs to go forward, and there are still several permits that need to be acquired by the federal, state and local levels of government.

Kerry Haynor, manager at Hiram Cure Airfield in Sunfield, was present at the meeting and was in favor of the proposed wind turbines.

He stated to the board that TCI Renewables has been respectful the Hiram Cure Airfield airspace rights, and thinks the company has done the process correctly.

The proposed turbines will be painted white and several will have lights on them so pilots will be able to see them at night.

TCI Renewables is planning to start construction of the Tupper Lake Project this year.

For more information on TCI Renewables, visit www.tcirenewables.com. For more information on airport airspace analysis, visit www.oeaaa.faa.gov.

Source:  By Jon Szerlag, The Ionia Sentinel-Standard, www.sentinel-standard.com 13 February 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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