A wind turbine ordinance and two tax renewal requests are on the ballot March 8 for Argyle Township voters.
A ballot question will ask voters whether an ordinance establishing a wind energy overlay district first approved by the township’s board should stand. There are also tax renewals up for approval for both the township’s road and fire millages.
The ordinance measure would allow for the development of utility grid wind energy systems in the township.
The initial ordinance was first approved by the board on July 6, 2015, and establishes setbacks for turbines in response to Chicago-based company Invenergy’s plans to install a wind farm on 25,000 acres over four townships, including Argyle.
Zoning Administrator Laura Bopra said officials are likely “waiting on the election,” before deciding what to do about the ordinance if it isn’t approved by voters.
But it does appear that residents are in disagreement, she said.
“As far as people driving down the roads, you see ‘Vote Yes,’ ‘Vote No,’ so I really don’t know,” Bopra said. “We’re a small community. It just seems like it’s tearing people apart. It’s neighbor against neighbor. I just hope it works out for everyone.”
Argyle’s ordinance would specify wind turbines have to be built 1,320 feet from inhabited structures and set back a minimum of 500 feet from non-participating property lines.
Invenergy’s turbine plans also affect Lamotte, Moore and Wheatland townships. Moore’s zoning ordinance was rejected by voters Nov. 3, and Wheatland Township also has a measure up March 8.
After Argyle officials approved its turbine ordinance, township Clerk Edward Pfaff said it was likely petitioned by residents later that same month.
“This did not state a reason on their petition, as I recall,” he said.
The 1 mill fire tax up for renewal would generate $23,300 in its first year, and cost the owner of a $100,000 home $50 annually.
Voters are being asked to extend levying the tax another four years. It expired at the end of 2015. According to the ballot language, it’s for purchasing and maintaining Argyle Township Fire Department equipment.
The 2 mill road tax expires at the end of 2016, and voters are being asked to renew it through 2020. It would generate $46,500 in 2017, and mean $100 a year for the owner of a $100,000 home.
Supervisor Jerry Hillaker said the road tax renewal is just “for general upkeep of the roads,” and that there was no one particular road that was in need of repair.
“We do a lot of gravel patching and maintenance,” he said. Ballot language specifies it’s also for road construction and improvement.
Hillaker said the township has traditionally done well with voters in renewing the taxes.
“It’s just keeping the roads up as best as possible, and the fire department, keeping (equipment) all updated and new equipment where necessary,” he said.
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