The community of Garden is divided over 14 wind turbines on a few residents’ properties.
Heritage Sustainable Energy officials were at Tuesday night’s Township Meeting. The CEO answered questions and presented a check for Heritage’s winter taxes.
Michele Goldi doesn’t have any turbines on her property, but she still feels Heritage has been a great asset to the community.
“I think that we’re lucky to have them here,” said Goldi. “They’ve been doing a lot of things for our community, giving back. Marty just presented our township with a $330,000 check and in total with the spring taxes, that brought a half million dollars to our community.”
Others feel the money doesn’t make up for constant noise. One resident said he can sometimes hear the turbines, even though his home is nearly two miles from the nearest one.
“It all depends on weather conditions, wind direction and atmospheric conditions and sometimes I can hear them fairly loudly,” said resident John Gavre. “They stand out from the background noise.”
Currently, there’s a law suit against Heritage regarding this noise, wildlife and decreased property values. Heritage is suing Schoolcraft County for adopting restrictive amendments to its zoning ordinance that prevents turbines.
In hopes of finding a community compromise, Heritage has installed new technology on one turbine that will randomly feather the blades.
“There are five different settings, and we’re going to run them all at different periods all the way until May,” said Heritage CEO Marty Lagina. “Then we’ll compare that data to what we’re doing with that turbine. Now, it’s a business but if we can do something reasonably, and make people happy, well, by gosh we’ll do it.”
The next step relies on the community’s input. They must let township officials know when the noise is bothersome, and when it becomes more tolerable.