BAD AXE – County planners are moving to the Huron County District Courtroom for their monthly meeting this week, giving room for both a full agenda and more seating.
On tap are plans for a 75-turbine wind park, a developer’s response to four complaints of shadow flicker and noise from turbines, and a report from an acoustics firm hired to draft regulation on turbine noise for the county.
The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday in the district courtroom of the county building, room 105.
“I don’t like to have standing-room-only at a meeting like that,” said Chairman Clark Brock.
Planners regularly meet in the board of commissioners room in the county building. But attendance at past county meetings has topped capacity and poured into the hallway, as residents, developers and local leaders continue to step forward to speak on wind energy issues.
Brock says Wednesday’s meeting won’t be a spot for public input on Deerfield Wind Farm, the 75-turbine spread Colorado-based developer RES Americas has planned for Huron, Dwight, Bloomfield and Lincoln townships. The county deemed areas suitable for wind development in 2011, and Development Manager Brad Lila said in January that RES Americas has spent about $3 million pursuing the project so far.
Instead, planners will decide if the project meets zoning requirements.
“Their (RES Americas’) timetable has been set for a few years,” Brock said. “If they want to move forward in the spring, they have to have it approved.”
RES Americas’ plan arrives at a time when county leaders are pursuing a moratorium on wind energy for at least six months. Steve Allen, attorney for the board of commissioners, said last week that the county could take some breathing room to update a wind energy ordinance before any new projects breaks ground.
“I don’t look at it as unusual timing,” Brock said.
As for shadow flicker complaints, “we hope that the energy companies have a response,” Brock said, adding that several issues have been resolved.
Also on the agenda is further review of Geronimo Energy’s 50-turbine Apple Blossom Wind Farm set for Winsor and McKinley townships, which was granted conditional approval in December.
Wednesday will mark the first change of venue since a special meeting for airport zoning attended by about 15 people at the Expo Center last March.
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