BAD AXE – The Huron County Planning Commission has recommended the board of commissioners ban wind energy development for another year in the 16 county-zoned townships.
The Huron County Board of Commissioners will vote Tuesday morning whether to approve the moratorium at 9 a.m. in Room 305 of the County Building.
The county’s previous year-long wind energy moratorium expired Jan. 18.
A public hearing was conducted Wednesday night prior to the 5-2 vote extending the moratorium.
Supporting the moratorium were planners Robert Oakes, Ken Walker, Robert McLean, Charles Bumhoffer and Carl Duda.
Chairman Bernie Creguer and Jeffery Krohn voted against it. Mary Babcock and Terry Heck were absent.
During the public hearing, six people spoke in support of the ban, while two people said the ban denies property owners’ rights.
Many of those in favor of the moratorium cited the May 2017 election, where voters turned down two wind developments in several counties.
The revisions in the moratorium language cited those developments, as well as a Sand Beach Township vote to approve a more restrictive ordinance pertaining to wind energy.
Lincoln Township also voted to form its own planning commission and withdraw from county zoning last May because of proposed wind development there.
The language also reflected the fact that the county is establishing a new master plan, which is expected to be complete by late winter.
If the moratorium is approved by the Huron County Board of Commissioners, it will be in effect for one year from that date, or until “all issues related to the revised master plan pertaining to wind energy systems are resolved, and the board of commissioners provide direction to the planning commission based on the outcome of the elections within 30 days thereafter, whichever occurs first.”
All recently constructed wind parks in the county were built under the county’s 2010 wind ordinance.
The 2015 revisions to the ordinance have yet to be tested, as no turbines have been constructed under it.
Krohn and Creguer agreed the 2015 ordinance is good, and that any more restrictions could be considered exclusionary zoning.
Those voting in favor of the ban cited the May election as their reason.
County-zoned townships are: Bingham, Bloomfield, Brookfield, Dwight, Fairhaven, Gore, Grant, Hume, Lincoln, McKinley, Rubicon, Sebewaing, Sheridan, Sherman, Sigel and Winsor.
Following referendums last year, Lincoln and Sherman townships have elected their own planning commissions and passed wind energy development moratoriums. The townships will officially become self-zoned when they adopt a zoning ordinance.
The final word at Wednesday’s meeting belonged to Creguer.
He scolded some Facebook users who have been targetting Huron County Commissioner Steve Vaughan.
“Recently, I’ve been seeing on Facebook a lot of nasty things thrown against our Commissioner Vaughan,” Creguer said. “And I think it’s really wrong.”
“If you don’t have the guts to come to a commissioners’ meeting and complain to him there, keep the hell off – nobody needs to be on Facebook.”
“Facebook’s like a damned chain letter … You look at the “Likes,” half of those people aren’t even from this county.”
“Why are people so involved with our business?”
“Stay home. And stay the hell off the internet.”
“If you’ve got a b****, come to the meeting. Come to this meeting. Come to the commissioners’ meeting. Don’t be putting s*** on the internet.”
McLean then said something inaudible to Creguer.
“That’s all I got,” he said.
“And I apologize for swearing.”
An audience member responded: “That’s OK. Understandable.”
“Well, this is a little ridiculous, people.”
Creguer then asked if anyone else had anything to say before the meeting was adjourned.
They did not.