SAND BEACH TOWNSHIP – A township official says that the recently adopted changes to Sand Beach Township’s wind ordinance are not meant to keep wind turbines out.
“We are not excluding them,” Township Supervisor Wade Mazure said. “If they can get the decibels of the turbines where it is set (in the ordinance), they can bring them in.”
Following an hour-long public hearing last week, the township board voted unanimously to adopt the changes.
NextEra Energy Resources has taken steps to establish a wind farm that spans Sand Beach, Sherman and Sigel townships, as well as Delaware Township in Sanilac County.
“The ordinance imposes sound limits so restrictive, it would be like trying to create a quiet library outside your house,” Bryan Garner, NextEra Manager of Communications. “Not even livestock could keep that kind of quiet.”
The amendments limit sound to 40 decibels (dBA) during the day, and 35 dBA at night for landowners who have wind turbines.
For residents without turbines, the limit would be 35 dBA during the day, and 30 dBA at night.
A resident told the Tribune that dozens of signatures were submitted on a petition to the Sand Beach Planning Commission last month opposing the new sound restrictions.
“It is unfortunate that the board of Sand Beach Township has chosen not to listen to the dozens of residents who signed petitions opposing this restrictive wind ordinance,” Garner said.
Gary Lilly, chairman of the Planning Commission, said specifications for the amendments were taken from the International Organization for Standardization’s 1996 guidelines for noise levels in rural areas, which he said were 35 dBA during the day, and 25 dBA at night.
Garner said NextEra will reevaluate what the sound ordinance amendments mean for the project.
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