SHERMAN TOWNSHIP— It was only a small margin of votes that left a revision to the wind turbine zoning referendum rejected by voters in Sherman Township.
Full results were not available as of press time early this morning, but according to Sherman Township Supervisor David Eggle, the referendum on the ballot had received 232 “yes” votes and 267 “no” votes.
Judge Scott-Hill Kennedy of the 49th Circuit Court ordered the referendum to appear on the ballot after ruling in favor of non-profit organization Save our Sherman in a suit filed in July against the Sherman Township board and the Sherman clerk.
The previous referendum regarding zoning standards for wind turbines first appeared in 2010. The second referendum, a revision to the initial zoning standards set new standards on noise restrictions and a setback distance of 2,250 feet.
Bethany Bolduc, Sherman Township Clerk, said it was wonderful seeing so many local residents exercise their right to vote.
“I have been working elections since 2010, and this is the highest turnout I’ve seen,” Bolduc said.
She said throughout the discussion regarding wind turbine zoning in Sherman Township, there had continued to be select groups of citizens on both sides of the issue.
“Both sides have rights, and we’ve worked very hard within our guidelines to be fair to both as best we could,” Bolduc said. “We’ve tried our best as a planning commission to protect the rights of everyone.”
Prior to casting their votes, some residents went into neighborhoods knocking on doors to explain the referendum on the ballot, Bolduc said.
She said a number of voters were misinformed in regards to the effect their vote would have on wind turbine zoning. Bolduc said the referendum was not an approval or disapproval for the placement of wind turbines in Sherman Township. She said the referendum was not a “straight up and down“ vote but would allow residents to decide on a preference of specific or general wind energy guidelines.
Eggle said now that the referendum has been rejected, Sherman Township must consider new development ideas.
“Now that the provision has been removed, the board has to see what our options are and consider what our next step should be,” Eggle said.
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