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City of Richmond establishes wind energy ordinance

The Richmond City Council has been directed by the planning and economic development department to create a wind energy ordinance for the city of Richmond.

“Currently, the zoning ordinance does not address wind energy turbines and therefore the city does not have any established method to review applications if or when they come in,” said Troy Jeschke, planning and economic development director.

The Michigan Association of Planning’s Wind Energy Policy states that municipalities must be prepared to embrace this new technology while protecting important local character, the environment and quality of life. A balance between the economic and environmental benefits of wind energy, and the likely adverse land use impacts, must be achieved.

Ordinance 156-16, according to Jeschke, will provide everyone including residents with a clear process to follow to get things such as wind energy turbines approved. Additionally, the ordinance provides guidelines for the safe operation of wind energy facilities within the city.

The Planning Commission held a public hearing on July 10 and recommended approval of the ordinance to the council. During their Oct. 6 meeting, a motion was made by council to introduce and give first reading to the ordinance which amends Article 16.

“The city planner did a lot of research in this area on what other communities in Michigan are doing. We borrowed heavily from Ottawa County, the city of Walker and Troy models. One small change is that the commission wanted more input on the review process rather than have an administrative review which is reflected in the ordinance,” City Manager Jon Moore said.

A copy of the ordinance may be purchased or inspected at the office of the clerk at 68225 Main St. in Richmond. For more information, contact the planning and economic development department at (586) 727-7571.