Several Ellington Township residents are expected to attend Tuesday’s board meeting to request a six-month moratorium that would put a halt to incoming wind turbines.
The moratorium residents are requesting would prevent NextEra Energy Resources Inc. from applying for a wind farm permit for six months, giving the township more time to reconsider the current ordinance.
Among the residents expressing their concerns is Mike Pattullo, who said Ellington Township’s wind farm ordinance is weak.
The current ordinance, adopted last year, allows 55 decibels of sound at the house and a setback of 1,320 feet from the home, compared to surrounding areas, including Huron County, whose ordinance doesn’t exceed 45 decibels with a setback restricted to at least 1,640 feet from the home.
“We’ve determined that Ellington Township may have the weakest wind farm ordinance enacted anywhere in Michigan in the last five years,” Pattullo said. “We have data to back this up that we want to present to the board.”
Pattullo said an ordinance this weak could take away the property rights of non-participating landowners.
NextEra Energy Resources Inc. told the Advertiser last month that they plan to file an application for a third wind park in Tuscola County within the next couple of months.
The project, called ‘Tuscola III’ would occupy parts of Ellington, Almer and Fairgrove Townships.
Pattullo said most residents have been in the dark until recently, “creating a significant amount of frustration and fear in our township.”
Tuscola County Commissioner Thomas Bardwell said it might not be a bad idea for the board to reconsider the ordinance’s zoning requirements, especially if this many people are concerned.
“I think everyone from what I heard is really fearful … I think this whole wind farm project caught them off guard,” Bardwell said. “If it’s going to be done, you want to do what’s acceptable to the people.”
Bardwell is considering attending one of two meetings scheduled Tuesday night, the other meeting involves a similar issue in a neighboring township.
Residents in Almer Township are also expressing concerns about a wind farm ordinance the Almer Township Board is considering to pass during a separate meeting Tuesday night.
Almer Township resident Norm Stephens said the new ordinance would allow 50 decibels at the house and a setback of 1,400 feet from the house.
“They’re just getting to the ordinance which is the right timing for anyone to be sharing concerns,” Bardwell said.
In an effort to get the word out, Pattullo and a group of other residents have shared their concerns on social media and gone door-to-door to inform residents why more restrictions should be added to the ordinance and encourage them to voice their concerns at the meeting Tuesday.
“We have growing confidence that a large number of people will show up for our Tuesday meeting,” Pattullo said.
The Ellington Township Board meeting is scheduled Tuesday at 7:30 and will most likely be moved from the township hall to Colwood Church in Caro to accommodate more people.
Ellington Township Supervisor said all the concerns will be addressed by the township’s attorney.
He declined to say more.
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