April 19, 2018

Planners OK Ingersoll wind ordinance on 5-2 vote

John Kennett | Midland Daily News | April 18, 2018 | www.ourmidland.com

The long, wearisome and divisive journey to an updated wind ordinance is nearing completion after Monday night’s Ingersoll Township Planning Commission meeting. A wind ordinance passed on a 5-2 vote.

Commission members Dave Kinne, Kris Kipfmiller, George Schaller, Andy Shaffner and Rick Surma voted in support of the ordinance. Planning Commission Chairman Ron Garrett and trustee Jacob Terwillegar voted against it.

The ordinance now goes to the Ingersoll Township Board at its May 14 meeting.

Garrett and Terwillegar were concerned about the potential unlawfulness of the ordinance.

“I will take whatever the consequences will be, but I will not ignore the law and logical reasonable thinking,” wrote Garrett in a letter to the Ingersoll Township Planning Commission.

The letter also expressed Garrett’s concerns for the ordinance.

“I am not comfortable supporting an amendment to our ordinance that I feel is not supported by the Zoning Enabling Act,” Garrett wrote. “As we choose requirements for changing our wind ordinance, I feel we are just picking numbers out of the air. We need to be able to defend our choices of regulations, if we are challenged. There should be rationale for why each requirement is made. Our decisions should be evidence based, not theoretical.”

He also touched on the limitations of the proposed Ingersoll Wind Ordinance.

“Writing these overly restrictive regulations, only for the reason of chasing away a particular land use, is improper governance,” Garrett continued.

Since beginning the process on March 22, 2017, the planning commission had to deal with the attempted replacement of a planning commission member by Township Supervisor Chuck Tabb, “… the planning commission has been subjected to the supervisor trying to remove one of the planning commission members and replacing them with a person who is vehemently opposed to wind turbines.”

There’s also been time spent discerning the township’s conflict of interest ordinance.

“The township board seems unsettled on the conflict of interest issue and some members of the public still feel the planning commission has members that are in violation of this ordinance, even though the township attorney has given an opinion on it,” Garrett wrote.

Garrett concluded the three-page letter by stating that those who oppose wind turbines should concentrate their efforts with the state Legislature and not at the local level.

“Writing an inappropriate local wind ordinance is not the way to stop renewable wind energy,” he wrote. “Our job here is to study the facts of the issue and balance individual property rights versus public safety, not individual property rights versus NIMBY attitudes.”

The proposed wind ordinance can be viewed on the township’s website at: ingersolltownship.com

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2018/04/19/planners-ok-ingersoll-wind-ordinance-on-5-2-vote/