MONITOR TWP., MI – More than 400 people showed up to a Monitor Township Board of Trustees meeting Monday night to tell officials they are not in favor of wind turbines sprouting up in their community.
DTE Energy wants to bring renewable energy to the township in the form of a wind farm, much like it tried in Beaver Township earlier this year. But after outcry from the public, trustees on Monday, June 25, unanimously passed a moratorium on the construction of wind turbines, giving the township’s planning commission more time to review its wind ordinance.
Countless people at the meeting voiced their opinions about the possibility of a wind farm being constructed in their township. One after another, they went to the microphone and said “No,” to wind turbines.
The biggest concerns from the public centered around property values, noise from the turbines and potential damages they could cause to their health and to wildlife.
“The most important issue to our family is our 9-year- old daughter who has suffered from and has been treated for chronic migraines from toddlerhood,” Brooke Adamski said. “We are hopeful that she may possibly be outgrowing these migraines as their frequency has recently reduced. There have been studies done on the potential for wind turbines to cause migraines in people who live nearby or those who are susceptible to migraines due to shadow flickering.”
Public comment at Monday’s meeting lasted more than two hours.
Adamski added she and many other residents felt like they were left in the dark when it came to the windmill ordinance because many people found out Monitor Township officials were discussing the ordinance by word of mouth or social media.
Ken Malkin, the township’s supervisor, walked through neighborhoods in the past weeks looking to inform homeowners about DTE’s interest in bringing a wind farm to the area and gathering opinions on the regulations of the ordinance.
That wasn’t enough, though, according to the mob of people at Monday’s meeting.
Malkin said he wants to implement an ordinance “that protects the residents.”
Many speakers at the meeting said they want Monitor to follow Beaver Township’s lead in regards to a wind ordinance. Township officials there passed an ordinance on May 14 which made it ultimately impossible for the energy company to plant wind turbines. Beaver’s ordinance calls for 2,000-foot setbacks – four times the height of a turbine – and extremely low sound limits.
DTE officials at Monday’s meeting say they are simply trying to boost their portfolio with renewable energy and provide some revenue for landowners in the process.
“We selected this are because, despite some of tonight’s comments, it does have a good wind regime so it is good for wind,” said Michael Sage, with DTE. “It has plenty of farm land. The proximity to transmission is very good as well.”
More than 20 wind farms have been developed in rural communities in the Thumb and across the state in areas like Huron, Tuscola, Sanilac, Saginaw, Bay, Gratiot and Isabella counties.
In the following weeks, Malkin said township officials will collect data, more citizen opinions and look into other communities that have wind farms to compile information for the planning commission to review at its August 14 meeting.
“In my opinion, I wish DTE would call me up and say ‘we’re not coming,'” said Malkin.
Many citizens, like Jill Moreno, who was at the meeting, said Monday’s decision is a step in the right direction.
“I hope they can gain our trust back and move forward and listen to the majority of the people who live here in Monitor Township,” she said.
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