UPPER THUMB – The proposed recall of four out of five Juniata Township Board members is back on again.
The same area of contention is in NextEra Energy Resources’ proposed Pegasus Energy Center wind farm.
The wind farm outlines building turbines in Juniata and Fairgrove townships which are 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.
Tuscola County Clerk Jodi Fetting issued notice this week that the recall on Jan. 8, 2018, submitted by township resident Nancy Laskowski, was withdrawn three days after being filed. New petitions were filed by resident Garrett Tetil regarding same issue.
However, recall information is not provided until all of those targeted for possible recall have been notified. Now that has been done, those targeted are Supervisor Neil Jackson, Clerk Heidi Stark, Treasurer Andrew Stark, and Trustee Elaine Schunn.
The only board member targeted is Trustee Brenda Wachner.
The Tuscola County Election Commission will hold a clarity/factual hearing on those petitions 2 p.m. Jan. 10 in the Tuscola County Probate Courtroom.
All four proposed petitions for recall claim each official: failed to protect the health, safety and welfare of residents by not enacting a moratorium on issuing Special Land Use Permits on wind development, and they needlessly exposed the township to the likelihood of litigation by refusing to amend the zoning ordinance of conflicting language regarding denial or appeal of the special land use permits.
The commission, which consists of Fetting, Probate Judge Nancy Thane, and Treasurer Patricia Donovan-Gray, will review the wording on the petitions to decided of if it is clear and factual. They will either confirm or deny the petitions. If they determine the petitions do not meet the criteria, the process stops. If the commission approves the petitions, the next step will be collecting signatures.
According to Fetting, 147 signatures of register voters of the township would have to be collected to put the issue on a ballot.
The next step would be reviewing signatures to verify they are valid and of registered voters in the township. If all of that is done, the issue moves on to voters deciding if the officials should be recalled. At that time, those targeted for recall have an opportunity to make a statement in their defense on the ballot for voters to read.
The controversy is over NextEra’s request for special land use permit requests for 31 turbines in Juniata Township for the Pegasus Energy Center project, which also includes 32 turbines in Fairgrove Township.
There has been no opposition to the wind farm in Fairgrove Township. In fact, the planning commission approved the special land use permit request last week.
Fairgrove currently has 37 turbines as part of the NextEra’s Tuscola Wind I and Tuscola Wind II.
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