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Tuscola is dusting off airport board

TUSCOLA COUNTY – Continued development of wind farms in Tuscola County is expected to be an area of contention in some townships.

Because of that, Tuscola County Commissioners reviewed the Tuscola Area Airport Zoning Board of Appeals bylaws that were drafted in 2011, and the fact that the five-member board that was appointed then has only met once since.

In order to be ready for possible appeals, Airport Zoning Board of Appeals board members were contacted if they are still interested in serving.

Those who served on the Airport Zoning Board of Appeals were Keith Kosik, Don Clinesmith, Paul Hoose, Jonathan Blasius and Bill Campbell.

All but Bill Campbell have said they are willing to continue serving, said Tuscola County Clerk Jodi Fetting.

The Tuscola County Board of Commissioners are accepting applications for the Airport Zoning Board of Appeals. The deadline to submit an application is 4 p.m. Jan. 5, to Jodi Fetting, Tuscola County Clerk, 440 N. State St., Caro, MI, 48723, or send an email toappoint@tuscolacounty.org.

The board meets once a year unless there is an issue officials have to decide on.

Currently, NextEra Energy Resources’s proposed Pegasus Wind Farm with its 31 turbines in Juniata Township is meeting with some resistance. So far, there has been no opposition to the proposed 32 turbines in Fairgrove Township.

The Pegasus wind farm is designed to tie into NextEra Energy’s Tuscola Wind I and Tuscola Wind II in Tuscola County, and with the Pheasant Run Wind Farm in Huron County.

The total height of the turbines in the Pegasus project from the bottom to the tip of the blade is just under 500 feet. Height is a concern because of Tuscola Area Airport’s traffic.

The turbines will exceed the ordinance height limitations so some or all of a special land use permit may be denied, but there is an appeals process and that is where the Airport Zoning Board of Appeals comes in, explained Tuscola County Controller Mike Hoagland.