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More than 250 attend Merritt Township public hearing on wind farm

MERRITT TOWNSHIP – Almost 300 community members, local residents and laborers attended the Merritt Township Planning Commission’s public hearing to dicuss a special use permit that if granted to NextEra Energy, would bring nine wind turbines to the area.

Tim Wahl, Merritt Township resident, was one of the concerned citizens in attendance.

“I don’t agree with it at all,” Wahl said. “I live here for the peace and quiet – I have nothing against those who want to lease their property for NextEra, but the rest of us here have to live with it, too.”

Wahl said that he believes that a wind turbine could be located behind his farmland, although the township has not yet released a map of the proposed sites. Wahl said that he learned of the turbine’s location from the Concerned Citizens of Merritt Township, who he said received the information from land surveyors.

An official from the Spicer Group for Bay County engineering firm provided a powerpoint demonstration on the magnitude, background and details of the project.

“We’re here to make sure the rules are followed and it is conducted in an orderly fashion,” said Rob Eggers, Spicer Group planner. “A meeting like this is emotionally charged, please let’s be respectful.”

The special use permit is for the installation of nine wind turbines generating 14.4 megawatts of power. An electrical substation and underground electrical lines would also be included.

In addition to Spicer Group, NextEra officials will also provide a presentation on the project and then the floor will be opened for public comment.