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Public hearing on wind development moratorium set for Dec. 14

BAD AXE – A public hearing on a proposed wind development moratorium will take place at a special meeting of the Huron County Planning Commission at 7 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Huron County Expo Center.

The ban would prevent in county-zoned municipalities the issuance of permits, licenses and approvals of wind energy systems for five years, or until the county “has more definitive answers to the many issues related to the long-term operation of large-scale wind energy systems,” according to the public hearing notice.

The 16 county-zoned townships are: Bingham, Bloomfield, Brookfield, Dwight, Fairhaven, Gore, Grant, Hume, Lincoln, McKinley, Rubicon, Sebewaing, Sheridan, Sherman, Sigel and Winsor townships.

Earlier this month, the Huron County Board of Commissioners submitted the moratorium resolution for consideration by the planning commission by a 4-3 vote.

The county currently has 473 operating turbines.

There are two projects in the application stage that would result in an additional 100 turbines.

Those are an overlay district currently proposed by DTE Energy for Lincoln, Dwight, Sigel and Bloomfield townships; and one proposed by NextEra Energy Resources for Sherman and Sigel townships.

The NextEra project also includes proposed turbines in Sand Beach Township, which is self-zoned, and Delaware Township, Sanilac County.

Sand Beach Township recently adopted changes to its wind ordinance by placing sound restrictions that are stricter than those of the county ordinance.

Lincoln Township has adopted ordinances placing its own moratorium on wind development, and establishing its own planning commission. It is waiting for the results of a spring referendum on the issue.

Sherman Township is also considering taking back its zoning.

County commissioners have also discussed revising its zoning ordinance to require a special use permit for wind energy systems, rather than using overlay districts.

Long-term health effects of wind turbines are also cited in the moratorium resolution as a reason to delay further wind development.

Those health effects include being exposed to shadow flicker, infra sound “and other sound emanating from wind energy systems.”

For those unable to attend the meeting, written comments will be accepted by mail at the Huron County Building and Zoning Department, 250 E. Huron Ave., Room 102, Bad Axe, MI 48413; by fax to 989-269-3362; or by email to smithj@co.huron.mi.us.

The notice of public hearing, along with the Huron County Board of Commissioners’ resolution proposing the moratorium will be posted on the county website main page under the news section at http://www.co.huron.mi.us/.

The Huron County Expo Center is located at 170 W. Soper Road.