Seneca Township voters will decide Aug. 7 whether to keep a wind energy ordinance unanimously approved by the township board of trustees in March.
The ordinance prescribes rules for wind energy turbines such as how far the turbines would have to be set back from dwellings and what sound levels would be allowed.
A group of citizens collected enough signatures to put the ordinance on the ballot for possible repeal.
The ordinance allows wind turbines to be built on land that is zoned agricultural. The turbines would have to be set back from the nearest dwelling not less than three times the height of the turbine.
The ordinance also limits the sound from any turbine to 45 decibels measured at any inhabited structure on any property not participating in the wind turbine project.
The ordinance also limits the shadow flicker – the moving shadow created by the sun shining through moving turbine blades – to 30 hours per year on an inhabited structure on a nonparticipating property.
Township resident Lori Glisson, who organized the petition drive to put the issue on the ballot, said the protections are not strong enough.
Glisson said the setback should be measured from the property line, not the dwelling on a property. Glisson also said the setback should be longer – she said four times the height of the turbine would be good.
Turbine sound should also be measured from the property line, Glisson said.
“I think we need to have an ordinance (that) will protect everyone,” Glisson said.
Township supervisor John Gould, who voted for the wind ordinance when the township board approved it in March, said the ordinance is “pretty much in the middle of the road” in terms of restrictions.
“You will find that ours (is) more restrictive than Gratiot (County) or Huron (County) or a lot of places in Ohio,” Gould said.
He said the ordinance provides safety for township residents.
Seneca Township has not been approached by wind farm developers, Gould said.
Earlier this year, two wind projects that would have put wind turbines in Riga, Ogden and Palmyra townships were called off or moved due to a combination of township ordinances and a Federal Aviation Administration finding that some of the proposed turbines would encroach on airspace around Toledo Express Airport in Swanton, Ohio.
Voting will take place at the township hall, 8709 Seneca Highway.
A “Yes” vote is a vote to keep the ordinance. A “No” vote is a vote to repeal it.
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