ROGERS CITY – The Presque Isle County Board of Commissioners will consider a petition to force a wind turbine ordinance to a public vote after residents collected enough signatures.
Presque Isle County Clerk Ann Marie Main on Tuesday confirmed the petition garnered enough signatures to be considered by the county board of commissioners.
“Now it’s up to the board. They would decide the language, what language would be submitted and the date of the election that will be put on,” Main said of how the petition will move forward.
An energy company has proposed a wind turbine project in the county and is currently collecting signatures for leases, according to county officials.
Mike and Stefani Schulte of Moltke Township spearheaded the petition at the suggestion of legal counsel after the commissioners amended the county’s zoning ordinance related to the installation of wind turbines. The ordinance, known as Zoning Ordinance 2, was updated to include definitions about turbines, exact zoning districts, setbacks, noise levels and a variety of other issues, The News reported in October.
Main said the Schultes had to collect signatures from 15 percent of registered voters who reside in townships that fall under county zoning – 356 signatures in this case – in order for the county commissioners to consider the petition. Presque Isle County residents who live in cities or townships with their own wind turbine ordinances were not eligible to sign the petition. The clerk’s office verified 383 of the 432 signatures that were collected.
The Schultes first learned about the potential installation of wind turbines after a neighbor alerted them to a township meeting. They own 80 acres of farmland in Moltke Township, where they raise cattle that are 100 percent grass fed.
Stefani Schulte said the main utilities easement for a proposed wind turbine project would be on her property and would render one-third of that property unusable for grazing cattle.
She said the biggest issue right now is the setbacks. The county’s amended ordinance allows setbacks of 500 feet, when the turbine manufacturer’s setback recommendations are 1,680 feet, she said.
“If my neighbor decided to sign a lease – and he has been hounded consistently to sign a lease agreement – there would be a turbine 500 feet from my property line. The ice throw alone could hit my house,” she said.
Additionally, Schulte said there is a known stray current on her property and that the electrical line that would be buried either close or in a high water table. Since water is a conductor of electricity, the electrical line would always be a threat to her cattle, she said.
Schulte said she is trying to preserve her land, her neighbor’s land and the region and that she wants the people of Presque Isle County to have a voice.
“It’s either a handful of individuals decide the fate of a region or the people of Presque Isle County get to have a voice – and that’s what this is about,” she said.
The Schultes plan to ask county officials at tonight’s commissioner’s meeting for a moratorium on progression until the election can take place. The county Board of Commissioners meets at 7 p.m. tonight at the county building, 151 E. Huron St., Rogers City
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding