A plan to construct windmills for a wind farm that comes near the Gratiot Community Airport is one step closer to fruition.
Once Pine River Wind Engineering receive tall structure permits from the State of Michigan, construction can begin on a wind farm in both Pine River Township in Gratiot County and Coe Township in Isabella County.
But the tall structure permits come only after a lapse of 30 days to Feb. 24 so anyone living in the area can file a challenge to a variance request, if they wish, that was recently approved by the Gratiot Airport Authority Zoning Board of Appeals, according to Aeric Ripley, Alma’s Assistant City Manager and Downtown Development Authority Director.
The request was granted to Pine River Wind Engineering on Jan. 18 to allow the construction of 17 of 65 windmills in the project that would be within 10 miles of the airport and would exceed the maximum height requirement the closer they get to the airport, said Ripley on Friday.
A variance for any construction of large structures within 10 miles of the airport is required by the airport’s zoning ordinance.
The airport is 754 feet above sea level and the windmills would add an extra 500 feet, bringing a total of 1,254 feet above sea level.
“Depending where they’re at, they get the tower height from the ground level and add the wind mill height, it will give you the height that’s above or below the 1,254 magic number,” he said.
Once completed, the windmills will be able to generate 161 megawatts of energy in Pine River and Coe townships.
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