BAD AXE – The Huron County Planning Commission recommended a proposed wind overlay district to the Huron County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday night.
The commission voted 6-1 to approve the district, which will be located in parts of Sigel and Sherman townships.
Commissioner Joel Weber abstained, and Commissioner John Nugent was absent.
Commissioner Carl Duda voted against recommending the district.
The motion to approve the district was amended to move the boundary line of Section 10 north to Purdy Road.
After Commissioner Mary Babcock motioned to make that amendment, and it passed, Commissioner Terry Heck motioned to amend it to remove the district from the three-mile setback from the shoreline.
Heck’s amendment died.
Duda had previously motioned to wait until next month to act on the district, so that more information could be gathered. That motion failed 4-3, with Weber abstaining.
The district’s developer, NextEra Energy Resources, provided maps with participating properties, properties not under contract, buildable properties and other details.
Commission Chairman Clark Brock summarized why the commission requested the information:
“We said before we would take any more action, that we would look at all the information that was provided, both by NextEra and by the request of people in terms of opt out, and how that fits within both our zoning …, as well as attorney information to us concerning spot zoning with opt out.”
Discussion continued on the various motions and amendments for more than an hour.
Commissioner Bernie Creguer said it’s important to remember that if the proposal fits with Huron County’s wind ordinance, the commission should support it.
The Huron Wind Energy center project also includes turbines in Sand Beach Township and Delaware Township in Sanilac County.
NextEra is currently reexamining the project since Sand Beach Township, which is self zoned, recently adopted amendments to its wind ordinance placing sound restrictions on wind turbines. The original proposal calls for 65 turbines to be built in the four townships.
Seventy people crowded into the Huron County District Courtroom, some of whom were there for a public hearing on expanding the Wallace Stone Quarry to be located in Fairhaven, McKinley and Winsor townships. That hearing was postponed until next month.
Others spoke for and against the wind overlay district, while others commented on last week’s Huron County Board of Commissioner’s meeting, where a wind overlay district proposed by DTE Energy was approved.
Dennis O’Neil of Harbor Beach, who owns land in Lincoln Township, questioned the validity of the board’s effort to pull Lincoln Township from that overlay district, which also includes parts of Dwight, Sigel and Bloomfield townships.
New business handled by the board included a noise complaint by Bloomfield Township resident Robert Gaffke, who lives near the Big Turtle Wind Farm Phase II.
An update was given for that wind park, as well.
Thirteen of 14 turbines are creating power there. All turbines should be operational by next month, Big Turtle officials said.
The planning commissioners were also sworn in by Huron County Circuit Gerald M. Prill at the beginning of the meeting.
Finally, the Huron County Master Plan survey results will be reviewed at a special meeting Nov. 16 in District Court Room 105.