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Residents pack township hall for vote approving wind-turbine ordinance

BENGAL TWP – In a 5-0 vote during a special meeting Thursday night, the Bengal Township Board joined Dallas and Essex townships in approving a more restrictive wind-turbine ordinance than has been passed by Clinton County.

About 150 people filled the township hall for the reconsideration of the ordinance by board members who had declined, on a vote of two in favor and three against, to approve virtually the same ordinance two weeks earlier.

The ordinance restricts wind turbines to a height that developers say is not feasible for their 40-tower project. Compared to the county ordinance, the township version also increases the distance towers are required to be set back from neighbors’ property lines.

Although only about a dozen people spoke during the public-comment period, all but one endorsed the proposed ordinance. A show-of-hands among those attending the meeting showed near-unanimous support for board adoption of the ordinance.

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 use permit for the wind-turbine farm remains pending before the county’s planning and zoning commission.