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Exclusionary zoning is against the law

In a number of editorials concerning wind energy in Sherman Township, there have been a number of assertions that I would like to clarify. As chairman of the planning commission, I would take issue with SOS’s claims that the commission has continued to ignore the pleas of those opposed to wind turbines. Just because this group has not been able to vote out wind turbines, which is against the law, they cry “foul” and blame township officials for not letting them get their way.

First of all, in coming to the conclusions of both of our setbacks, we did listen, and acted on the concerns and information we had from citizens on both sides. At that time, the state’s recommendation was one and a half times the height of a tower. After considering citizen concerns, and knowing that by law we could not zone out wind towers, our first setback was over three times the height of a tower. This setback was aggressively opposed by the wind friendly group, who cited that it was unreasonably restrictive. That setback was rejected by a referendum and we again tried to find a “fair” setback that would address major SOS concerns, without excluding the ability for a business to exist. However, even with a setback of four and a half times the height of a tower, it was again defeated.

What most people don’t realize is, that if a setback of one mile or more was adopted as has been suggested by SOS, this could easily be viewed as “exclusionary zoning,” which is against our state law. As chairman of our planning board, I do not plan on leading our board, directly or indirectly, down a path that might be interpreted as breaking any law.

Ronald W. Moesta