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Meade Twp. welcomes turbine talk

MEADE TOWNSHIP – If you’ve got something to say about DTE Energy’s newest wind park planned for Meade and Colfax townships, you can take it to the Meade Township Hall on Oct. 7.

All are welcome, including landowners, leaseholders and non-participants, to two special meetings scheduled for 7 p.m. next Tuesday at 2119 W. Filion Road.

“We’ll be discussing whether to re-zone properties for use of wind turbines,” said Rob Heck, chair of the Meade Township planning commission. “We’re looking for public comment, that’s the main reason to have the special meeting.”

DTE’s plans, announced earlier this summer, call for 58 turbines, 45 of which would be sited in Meade Township and 13 in Colfax Township. Officials say the 100-megawatt park will put DTE at 10.2 percent of the 10 percent renewable energy goal utilities must meet by 2015, set by Michigan’s Renewable Energy Standard. Two-thirds of landowners have signed up to participate in the $2.5 million project, according to DTE.

Construction is scheduled to start next spring. A completion date is set for December 2015. Currently, there are no wind turbines in Meade or Colfax townships.

Heck previously said the wind park could bring significant money to the township to “pave all of our roads” and “reduce tax burdens,” among other benefits.

Immediately following the first meeting, planners will switch seats with township officials for a second special meeting. The township board is expected to make a decision on whether to approve a wind energy overlay district.

At an Aug. 26 meeting, planners voted down a six-month moratorium on wind energy development, following a more than three-hour debate with nearly 50 people.

“It’s getting quite contentious,” said Heck, who expects the upcoming special meetings to be “lively.”