HURON COUNTY – The Huron County Board of Commissioners refused a motion to disband the wind energy subcommittee, an ad hoc panel formed in January to review sections of the county’s zoning ordinance that pertain to wind parks.
Board Chairman Clark Elftman requested the motion during the board’s regular meeting Tuesday, stating the ad hoc committee has fulfilled the purpose for which it was created, and by definition, it should not continue to meet.
“Ad hoc means ‘for this’ for a specific reason,” he said, noting it was formed specifically to review the ordinance at it pertains to turbine noise.
The motion failed 5-1, with Elftman the only member voting to dissolve the subcommittee.
Commissioner John Nugent advised against dissolving the subcommittee before it completes its work, as many people in the county are anxiously awaiting the subcommittee’s findings.
“There are a lot of people who are hurt by the wind turbines, and they’re hoping there will be some corrections to the zoning ordinance as a result of the work being done by the subcommittee. … I think what they are doing is very beneficial, and if they don’t think their work is completed, I sure hate to see them dissolved before they have a chance to see them put forward something that we know is needed, because everyone has pointed out the deficiencies in the current wind zoning ordinance, and they’re trying very hard to correct those deficiencies,” Nugent said.
Commissioner Ron Wruble argued the ABD report should be presented to the wind energy subcommittee, which should then present the report to the planning commission.
“They’re four steps from the finish line, and we’re going to stop them in their tracks?” he asked.
Elftman added he’s concerned about comments made during recent Meade Township meetings by subcommittee vice-chair Robert McLain, who has said the county could make changes to the ordinance that go beyond noise control.
Commissioner Steve Vaughan, who attended the Meade Township meetings, said he also objected to comments made by Huron County Planning Commission member Carl Duda, who said the county is planning to make changes to the ordinance due to a rash of public complaints.
“He expressed at that meeting that we are going to be making a lot of changes to the wind zoning ordinance, and that is not correct. We are cleaning up the language. We have this Acoustics by Design that is going to be writing the methodology for testing so that our compliance testing is all the same,” Vaughan said.
Elftman said it’s also incorrect to state the county has received multiple complaints.
“Where are the complaints? I’ve had it right up to here with this might have been, could have been, should have been. All these birds that are laying out there dead under the wind turbines. Why can’t they find them? Nobody can find them,” he said.
Vaughan said he discussed Duda’s comments with Planning Commission Chairman Clark Brock, who agreed it was inappropriate.
“I just think that it’s very poor practice to go outside of your jurisdiction and reference things like that and show bias. Things are quite contentious out there as it is. There is a lot of information that has to be gone through to make sure everyone has the correct information so they can make a good decision,” he said.
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