In the letter of March 7, 2014, it appears the writer is confused about zoning in general and “exclusionary zoning” in particular, which misleads readers. “Exclusionary zoning” means no turbines would be permitted. “Restrictive zoning” means turbines are allowed under certain conditions. The Sherman Township Planning Commission has been repeatedly presented with evidence that Michigan has one of the strongest legal foundations for “restrictive” wind turbine zoning in the USA, including a presentation by Susan Topp, an expert.
In Jonacheck v. Bay Township (119 Fed.Appx707 WL 2921962CA6Mich) the appeals court held that a zoning authority could limit the height of wind turbines to restrict development. This case was upheld on appeal. It is strong law that has been used by numerous townships in Michigan to restrict turbines, including Centerville Township, Leelanau County. No township in Michigan that has adopted “restrictive” zoning for wind turbines has been developed and none has been sued. A mile setback does not exclude turbines but only restricts their placement. It is not exclusionary.
The majority twice opposed Sherman zoning because they recognized that the Zoning Board of Appeals, if asked, could change the only two restrictive sections to allow development. A ZBA cannot change many provisions, but the Sherman zoning was designed so only two needed to be changed for Sherman to have wind-friendly zoning and development.
Majority rule is the foundation of democracy, enshrined in the Constitution. Sherman officers refuse to recognize that a majority of residents in Sherman do not want wind turbines. It does not matter if that prevents a business or development. What matters is what the majority of people who elected township officers want. The minority who want wind development has been twice out-voted, and demonizing Save Our Sherman will not change that.
Victoria L. Brehm
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