MONITOR TOWNSHIP, MI – Bay County’s Monitor Township has an updated zoning ordinance that further restricts wind farms, should one be developed there in the future.
Monitor Township Supervisor Ken Malkin said zoning ordinance No. 67 was adopted Monday, March 25, after the township board unanimously approved its second reading. It goes into effect April 29.
“What the Planning Commission had been working on for three or four years was redoing our entire zoning ordinance and part of that ordinance was the update of our windmill ordinance,” Malkin said. “We adopted the whole zoning ordinance.”
Malkin said many Monitor Township residents favored stronger restrictions on wind farms. Some of the concerns the new ordinance addresses include setbacks from property lines, shadow flicker and noise.
“We increased the setbacks to 2,000 feet (from 750 feet) from property lines. We indicate there should be zero shadow flicker on peoples’ property, unless they want to participate … and we also lowered the sound level,” he said.
The new ordinance also requires a cash bond to cover the cost of proper removal of the turbines once they are abandoned or non-operational.
Malkin said DTE Energy previously considered developing a wind farm in Monitor Township and signed leases with “quite a few landowners.” He said he hasn’t heard anything more from DTE about those potential plans.
“I’ve been hopeful that they would not locate in our township because an overwhelming number of residents are opposed,” he said. “It’s my assessment that an overwhelming majority are opposed to having wind turbines in the township.”
DTE provided the following statement Wednesday:
“DTE has previously provided comments to Monitor Township encouraging an ordinance that benefits landowners, the community, and wind energy. We have a number of signed landowners in Monitor Township who are supportive of wind development and hope to host wind turbines. Consequently we continue to encourage the township to draft an ordinance that balances community interest and private property rights. We have 23 signed landowners representing 1,809 acres in Monitor Township.”
Monitor Township is a community of about 10,500 people, located just west of Bay City.
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