Bengal Township has joined the list of local governments imposing stricter wind turbine ordinances than current Clinton County regulations.
In a 5-0 vote during a special meeting Thursday night, the Bengal Township Board of Trustees joined Dallas and Essex townships in approving a more restrictive measure.
About 150 people filled the township hall for the reconsideration of the ordinance by board members who had declined, on a 2-3 vote, to approve the same ordinance two weeks earlier.
The ordinance restricts wind turbines to a height 400 feet, which Fowler Farm developers say is not feasible for their 40-tower project. Their plan calls for towers 427 feet tall. Dallas and Essex ordinances limit wind towers to 380 feet.
The Bengal Township ordinance also requires towers be placed 1,600 feet from residential structures and from property lines.
Clinton County allows towers to be placed 1.5 times a tower’s height, or approximately 640 feet, from the property line of a nonparticipating property owner.
About a dozen people spoke during the public comment period and all but one endorsed the proposed ordinance. A show of hands among those attending the meeting showed near-unanimous support.
No one from Chicago-based Forest Hill Energy spoke on behalf of the $123 million Fowler Farms project.
Township Supervisor Eric Mohnke attributed the two-week delay in approving the ordinance to legal reviews and correction of typographical errors.
Proponents said the restrictions would protect property values, residents’ health and safety and the area’s traditional rural lifestyle.
Forest Hill Energy’s application for a special land-use permit for the wind-turbine project is scheduled to be considered by the Clinton County Planning Commission at its Dec. 13 meeting.
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