PARIS TOWNSHIP – Voters here backed a proposal to restrict where wind turbines can be built Tuesday night by nearly a 2-to-1 margin.
With a vote of 87-48, residents decided to reinforce a zoning ordinance approved in May by the Paris Township Board. The ordinance states that turbines must be 2,000 feet from all property owners who did not participate in the wind project. In contrast, the Huron County zoning ordinance only needs to be 1,320 feet from all non-participating homes.
“Essentially, it’s going to bring into place what was put together in May,” Paris Township Trustee Angela Guza said about the vote. “Some people in the community were unhappy with the wind energy zoning.”
Proposed turbines must also be built higher in an effort to curb noise pollution. The May ordinance also stated that turbines in Paris Township must operate 10 sound decibels lower than Huron County requirements at all times.
Guza said that there was a high turnout for the proposal. Wind turbines in Paris Township have become a hot-button issue in the past year. In May, township Clerk Randy Weber said there had been 48 meetings over the past few years devoted specifically to developing the ordinance.
“We had at least a one third voter turnout for this,” Guza said. “That’s good for an off-year election.”
It’s not known how much the ordinance will affect energy companies’ willingness to develop wind turbines in the township. Jeff Smith, director of Huron County Building and Zoning, said that there are no plans to develop new wind turbines in the area at this time.
Guza agreed it was too early to see how the ordinance would affect turbine construction, but the idea of the ordinance was to make things fair for all residents in Paris Township.
“Now that zoning is in place, it’s really up to the energy companies if they want to come here,” Guza said.
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