BRANCH COUNTY – Last month Marilyn Johnson asked County Commissioners to pass a wind turbine zoning ordinance. During public comments Thursday she pressed for an answer. County Administrator Bud
Norman said before the commission would act it would be presented to the Branch County Planning Commission.
“That would be presented to the planning council before it is brought back to the board (of County Commissioners),” Norman said. The Branch County Planning Commission was created in 2011 under the state planning enabling act but has met very few times, the last time in March 2017. There will be a meeting set for December.
Concerned Citizens of Branch County and others have been fighting against DTE Energy and its plan for a 50 to 60 wind turbine farm in the northwest townships of the county.
Concerned Citizens of Branch County and others have been pushing for restrictive zoning on wind turbines in the three townships affected, Sherwood, Matteson, and Batavia.
Union Township does not have zoning. An effort to force zoning failed at the polls Tuesday by a vote of 268 to 233 with a 33 percent turn out.
Johnson asked the commission if it could get DTE to provide its master plan for Branch County.
“They say they have one but will not release itto individuals. I would
like the county commissioners to ask for the master plan so you would know what is going to happen in the county,” she said. “And, maybe give it to the public. You deserve to know what is going to go on in the county and the future of the county.”
Chairman Ted Gordon said the commission saw a presentation from DTE but not the master plan.
Johnson also suggested an independent evaluation of wind in the county because questions have been raised about whether there is enough to make a wind farm viable. “Also an environmental impact study,” she said.
She suggested Michigan State University might do one for a small fee.
“I know DTE has done their own. But I don’t trust DTE,” Johnson added.
Current Planning Commission members include: Anita Hoyt, Debbie Lounds-Bowers, Tony Headley, Dean Walrack, Deb Sikorski, Commissioner Randall Hazelbaker, and Kara Derrickson.
There are a two vacancies on the nine member board.
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