May 9, 2012

Palmyra Township voters reject wind turbine ordinance

By David Frownfelder, Daily Telegram, 8 May 2012

PALMYRA TWP., Mich. – Voters in Palmyra Township on Tuesday rejected the wind turbine ordinance that was approved by the township board in October.

The vote in Tuesday’s referendum was 259 “no” to 217 “yes.” Township Supervisor Jim Isley said the relative closeness of the vote showed him the township board wasn’t far off in its deliberations on the ordinance. He said many of the votes on both the planning commission and the township board were split and the vote Tuesday leaves several options.

“One option is we could do nothing, which would leave the township without an ordinance, or we could put the planning commission back in action to write a new one,” Isley said.

Kevon Martis of Riga Township is a director of the Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition, a group formed in opposition to the proposed wind turbine projects in Lenawee County. Martis said the Palmyra vote affirms the previous vote in Riga, which upheld that township’s ordinance.

“The only fair way to zone for industrial wind turbines is with an ordinance that requires consent and compensation to all those affected by wind turbines’ known impacts on property values and quality of life,” he said in an email. “I hope the Palmyra leadership will take a second look at the state-recommended model ordinance that is in effect in Riga which requires the consent of all the taxpayers in the township, instead of an ordinance like that rejected in Palmyra that effectively causes people to give up their future development rights to outside industrial wind developers.”

In October the Palmyra Township board approved the ordinance drafted by its planning commission and endorsed by the Lenawee County Planning Commission, which has lessened restrictions on height and setbacks. The vote was seen as a victory for proponents of the wind turbine projects in Palmyra, Ogden and Riga townships.

After a strict ordinance was passed by the Riga Township Board and upheld in a referendum vote and the Palmyra ordinance resulted in a referendum vote, Great Lakes Wind, LLC decided to abandon its plans for Lenawee County and is looking elsewhere in Michigan for a site.

The Riga ordinance plus a Federal Aviation Administration finding that several proposed turbine sites in the southern part of the county were too close to Toledo Express Airport led Germany-based juwi to abandon its plans for 87-turbine wind farm.

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