BAD AXE – The Huron County Planning Commission will lose about 70 years of experience this month with the retirement of two veteran planners.
Commission Chair Clark Brock and Commissioner Joel Weber attended their last regular meeting Wednesday night, and Commissioner Robert Oakes presented them with certificates of appreciation.
“ … It’s been educational, controversial at some times, enjoyable, and I appreciated the opportunity to serve,” said Weber, who has served on the commission for more than 40 years.
He also thanked the past and present Huron County Board of Commission members for giving him that opportunity.
And Oakes commended Brock, who has been on the board for more than 29 years, for his service.
“You did well here,” Oakes said. “And for somebody who is gracious to be able to take the swings and arrows of being the chair, and leading us through all of the things that you have led us through – all of these ups and downs – and for somebody who has done it correctly … for your 30 years, and being chair; congratulations, and God speed, and we love you, man.”
“It has been a pleasure,” Brock said. “I have enjoyed … all 29 years plus, and … my dad told me years ago that, ‘If you’re in education, community service is a part of that.’ And I believed him completely, and have really enjoyed it. … I have appreciated the support that we have had over the years. And I really appreciate the fact that even though there were times that people in the community didn’t agree with the things that we were doing, they understood the things we were doing. So it’s really been great.”
The board of commissioners has received two letters of interest for serving on the planning commission.
They were from Charles Bumhoffer of Sebewaing and William Renn of Chandler Township.
Interviews for seats on the planning commission will be at the March 21 county board meeting.
Weber and Brock’s final meeting will be March 22, at a special meeting with Alan Bean of Spicer Group regarding the Huron County Master Plan.
Other issues that came before the planners included:
• An update by Apple Blossom Wind Farm officials, who said preparation for construction could begin as soon as March 13, depending on when frost laws are lifted.
• A Deerfield Wind Energy project update; it has been operating commercially since Feb. 22.
• Officials from Big Turtle Wind Farm Phase II gave an update on that project, and the planners reviewed the post-production sound modeling protocol.
• Robert Gaffke of Bloomfield Township presented his wishes for sound testing regarding his noise complaint resolution with Big Turtle II. Gaffke proposed stricter sound limitations than those covered by the county wind ordinance. Brock said that although the planning commission cannot require sound measurement outside the ordinance requirements, Gaffke may request it.
• Dale Hass of Dwight Township has filed a noise complaint with the Deerfield project. Scott Martin of Deerfield Wind Energy said a meeting was scheduled for Thursday morning with Hass to address the complaint.
• The planners reviewed Oliver Township’s proposed zoning ordinance updates. There were questions about the township’s classification of solar farms as being compatible with land preservation, which planners say conflicts with state law when it comes to farmland preservation.
• They also reviewed a proposed amendment to the Caseville Township zoning ordinance regarding storage structures.
• During public comment, Gaffke asked whether the amount spent on attorneys for appealing the Michigan Tax Tribunal ruling on the valuation of wind turbines could be made public. Brock noted that the planning commission was not privy to that information.
The next regular planning commission meeting will be at 7 p.m. April 5 at a location to be determined.
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