ESCANABA – Months of deliberation about the section of a Delta County ordinance regarding wind turbines came to a close at a special meeting held by the Delta County Planning Commission Monday. After a public hearing on the ordinance, the commission voted in favor of sending a revised version of the document to the board of commissioners.
Since the beginning of the year, the planning commission has met on a monthly basis to discuss this section of the ordinance. Throughout this process, they suggested additions and alterations to its language. Proposed changes in the version of the ordinance reviewed Monday included a requirement that turbines be measured from their center for the purpose of calculating setbacks, a passage limiting shadow flicker on non-participating dwellings to 30 hours per year, guidelines for estimating the costs of decommissioning turbines, and a requirement that turbine owners try to respond to any complaints they have received within 24 hours.
Some citizens in attendance Monday night said the changes suggested by the commission were not sufficient. Among other concerns, they feared the decommissioning and complaint resolution processes described in the ordinance would not be thorough enough to ensure the cooperation of turbine owners.
“To sum up my statement, I believe that these plans should be completely revised,” Garden resident Patricia Rassmussen said.
Xiomara Cordoba, a project manager for Heritage Sustainable Energy, also spoke at the meeting. She said the changes suggested by the commission would make the ordinance largely similar to those in other Michigan counties.
“With the proposed changes, it’s comparable to other communities in the state that have wind energy systems that are operating in a harmonious manner with the community,” Cordoba said.
Though Monday’s vote marked the end of the planning commission’s involvement with the wind turbine issue, the ordinance has not yet been officially altered. The commission’s proposed changes will now go before the Delta County Board of Commissioners, who will begin their discussion on them in the near future.
“It’ll be up to them to see how they want to proceed,” Delta County Administrator Ryan Bergman said in a statement after the meeting.
Bergman said he was grateful for the commission’s efforts towards revising the ordinance.
“I’m appreciative of all the work that the planning commission has done on this issue,” he said.
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