MONITOR TOWNSHIP, MI – Distance between wind turbines, a complaint process and safety zones are just some of the issues that will be discussed at a Monitor Township planning commission meeting next week to help work toward updating a nearly decade old wind energy ordinance.
The Monitor Township Planning Commission meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 10 at Township Hall, 2483 Midland Road. The main topic on the agenda is the supervisor’s recommendation to update for the township’s wind energy ordinance.
Some of the recommendations were compiled from public input gathered during the Monitor Township Board of Trustees meeting held on Monday, June 25. At that meeting, hundreds of people attended who are against a wind park going up in their backyard.
More sources for input come from examining the ordinances that Beaver and Williams Townships recently drafted up. Beaver Township officials passed an ordinance on May 14, which makes it nearly impossible for energy companies to install wind turbines. Beaver’s ordinance calls for 2,000-foot setbacks – four times the height of a turbine – and extremely low sound limits.
Some of the recommendations Supervisor Ken Malkin is suggesting for the updated wind energy ordinance, include:
- Substantial separation from populated areas of the township, such as subdivisions, condominiums, trailer parks and other densely populated areas.
- Require that wind turbines be located exclusively in areas zoned for agricultural, using both the current zoning map and the township master plan.
- Require wind turbine setbacks and a decibel level standard.
- Radar activated lights for airplane safety that comply with aviation standards.
- Create a safety zone that would include warning signs, protection from ice on the blades, protection from faulty blades or other potential wind turbine repair issues and fire safety.
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.
DTE Energy is looking at several areas in Bay County to plant wind parks. Monitor Township drew the energy company’s interest because of its abundance of farm land, officials said at the June 25 meeting.
During the meeting Malkin said he plans to present the list to the planning commission and materials about wind turbine studies.
“There’s going to be a lot of residents at that meeting,” Malkin said.
Only discussion is expected at Tuesday’s meeting. The Planning Commission, Malkin said, likely won’t vote on updates to the ordinance until August. Any changes then need approval by the township board.
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