SHIAWASSEE COUNTY – The Shiawassee County Planning Board is currently in the middle of a yearlong process of developing an ordinance in response to wind energy companies that have already started signing leases within the county.
During the planning board’s Jan. 12 meeting, a moratorium was placed on wind turbines in the county. It basically prevents wind turbines from being installed until the county gets an ordinance in place.
Shiawassee County Land Use Planner Matthew Lafferty explained that APEX Clean Energy, of Charlottesville, Va., has already secured leases for property in the northwestern portion of the county, including Rush Township in the Tri- County Citizen coverage area. Another wind energy company has been actively exploring wind energy opportunities in the northeastern part of the county, including the Hazelton and New Haven township areas. That firm has yet to contact the county planning board.
Lafferty explained the county planning board has been reviewing ordinances used by other municipalities so they can write an ordinance that makes sense for Shiawassee County and its residents. Nothing has been adopted. The board has been going over different topics associated with wind turbines at each monthly meeting.
In March, the board discussed setting the maximum wind turbine height of 600 feet tall, but that’s just preliminary. In April, they went over noise provisions. Last week, at the May 24 meeting, the board learned about the issue of shadow flicker. Lafferty explained it was a new concept for him, too. He explained when the sun comes up, or goes down, there had been some concerns with the sunlight bouncing off the turbine blades causing a flickering effect that had been a factor in other projects.
The Shiawassee County Planning Board’s next meeting is Wednesday, June 28, when the topic will be setback requirements.
Lafferty said, “We’ve been getting a lot of participation at these meetings.”
If the board adheres to the proposed schedule, the public hearing for the proposed ordinance might be held Oct. 25, but that’s a tentative date.
For more information, contact the Shiawassee County Planning Board Office at (989) 743-2396. The board office is located on the third floor of the office building at 201 North Shiawassee St. in Corunna.
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