MATTESON TOWNSHIP – As the township hall filled Wednesday night, with opponents, Matteson Township Supervisor Dave Johnson said, “wind turbines is a hot button issue and it will be for the foreseeable future.”
State law does not allow turbines to be banned totally.
Matteson Township allows wind turbines by special use permit.
Clerk Karon Fisher said the township board is actively involved “to decide exactly what restrictions (and) how strict, other people’s zoning ordinances and requirements (are) to try to pull something together that makes sense for Matteson Township.”
The set back now is one-and-a-half times the height from the base, according to trustee Kevin Barnes.
Barnes noted that Michigan State University has put together a paper on wind zoning.
He said, “They show how to mitigate issues,” such as flickering, sound, and other factors.
While those in the audience raised issues against wind turbines, Supervisor Johnson said, “the township has the responsibility to its constituents to meet, to the best of our ability, everybody’s needs.”
Johnson added, “I am sure there is no way that everyone’s desires are going to be met. Our goal is to make what is best for the township, as a whole.”
“For everybody here, who is against it, there are farmers who are not: who are in favor of it,” Fisher added Ten farmers – residents who are among those that have sold leases for turbines to DTE Energy – wrote identical form letters urging that turbines be allowed. DTE has leased more than 270 parcels in Branch County. The majority are in Matteson, Sherwood and Union townships.
Several on the township board and planning commission went to Breckenridge in mid-state to see a wind turbine farm up close, taken there by DTE last weekend.
Fisher made a trip to the Ludington area on her own to see another project and talked to residents. Several attended a meeting on turbines by Ripa Township Planning member Kevon Martis.
Johnson told the meeting, “I don’t mind telling you I am right on the fence not for one side or the other.”
Issues were raised about noise, humming from power lines, packed earth from construction, damage to farm drain tiles, and roads. Some pointed out reduced property values. Another questioned the tax income and fast depreciation of turbines.
Johnson noted that Matteson had a personal property millage in place to collect taxes from the Consumers Energy pipeline which would cover turbines.
Others were concerned about restrictions on their own property because of turbines nearby.
Others were afraid construction could begin immediately.
It cannot without a permit.
The township board said there is a planning commission moratorium on issuing special use permits for turbines while it reviews its current law.
Fisher admitted, “We are not going to make everybody happy in Matteson Township.”
“We are going to take the time, and energy, and research. We are really going to get this right,” Johnson said.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding