L’ANSE – Acting on a tweak in a zoning ordinance suggested by the developer of a proposed wind farm, the L’Anse Township Planning Commission voted Wednesday to send a third recommended change to the zoning ordinances to the Township Board.
The commission approved the change following a presentation from Sean Stocker, a project manager from Renewable Energy Systems (RES), which requested the change.
“I asked them to come and explain their reasoning for that,” commission chairman Roy Kemppainen said.
The change adds wording to the part of the zoning ordinance that dictates property line setbacks for wind turbines that allows setback waivers for participating properties in lease agreements or easements.
“It allows for a more efficient turbine layout,” Stocker said.
All of the board members voted in favor of the recommendation except Joan Bugni, who was absent, and Kemppainen.
“I just don’t like changing a zoning ordinance if something can be done with a variance,” Kemppainen said.
A variance would allow an exception in the zoning ordinance with board approval. The requested change would allow an exception in the setback to be agreed upon by the two participating property owners without board involvement, and for any future projects. A participating property is a property involved in the wind farm project. Properties without turbines on them are defined as non-participating and setbacks for them are defined in a separate part of the ordinance.
“It doesn’t affect a non-participant,” Stocker said.
Stocker said they would have to seek five to seven variances if the change in ordinances was not adopted.
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