BAD AXE – A motion to reconsider a resolution to approve a wind energy overlay district for DTE Energy in Section 13 of McKinley Township died Tuesday at the Huron County Board of Commissioners meeting.
“This is a sad day for Huron County,” said commissioner John Horny following no motion to reconsider the resolution.
During the board’s first regular meeting earlier in the month, commissioners David Peruski, Ron Wruble and John Nugent voted against the district, while commissioners Steve Vaughan, John Horny and Clark Elftman voted in favor of it. Because it was a split vote at 3-3, the resolution was defeated.
The possibility of revisiting the resolution could only happen if at least one of the three commissioners who voted against the district brought the resolution back to the table for a vote at Tuesday’s meeting, which they did not.
“I would like to have a word – I would have voted ‘yes’ to involve Mr. Leipprandt’s property into the wind turbine plan, but that doesn’t change anything now,” said commissioner John Bodis, who was unable to attend the June 12 regular meeting.
Phil Leipprandt, who has easements with DTE Energy to develop his property in Section 13 in McKinley Township, expressed his concern during public comments at the meeting.
“We thought we had an agreement made that filled all the requirements to have windmills on our property,” he said. “The property is leased to DTE and I’m kind of surprised that it came down to a vote that it was not allowed.”
A number of residents from Lake Township and Bay County were opposed to the district during a public hearing the Huron County Planning Commission held earlier this month. They had concerns about aesthetics; turbine setbacks from the shoreline, property lines and environmentally sensitive areas; property values; wildlife; and the uncertainty of future tax revenue from wind developments.
However, at Tuesday’s meeting, the majority of people that spoke up were for the resolution, including Keith Iseler of Huron Township.
“I am extremely disappointed in your lack of action and especially disappointed in Mr. Nugent,” he said. I’ve heard him trumpet, several times, the need for all board members to be here on important decisions and be ready to vote – but apparently that street only runs one way. I find the actions here to be politically motivated, self-centered, slanted and lousy.”
Commissioner Steve Vaughan urged fellow commissioners to get actively involved by meeting with Huron County Building and Zoning Director Jeff Smith if there are problems that need to be worked out with the county’s current wind ordinance.
“If there are changes that need to be made, we need to meet with Mr. Smith and figure things out,” he said. “We owe it to the citizens we represent to do this.”
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