JONESFIELD TOWNSHIP, MI – Some Jonesfield Township residents want a public vote on a more restrictive ordinance governing wind energy farms.
A group of citizens gathered signatures to get a referendum on the issue on the May election ballot. The current ordinance was adopted by the township board in 2004.
The election is set for Tuesday, May 7.
The ordinance from 2004 calls for 5 acres per wind turbine generator and the maximum noise level generated by the turbine should not exceed 60 decibels measured at the property line, including down wind from the installation.
Also, each wind turbine tower must be set back from all adjacent property lines and road right-of way lines a minimum distance equal to the height of the tower, including the top of the blade in its vertical position, according to the township ordinance document.
The more restrictive ordinance calls for turbines no closer than 1,000 feet from the participant, and no closer than 1,400 feet from a non-participating home. Turbines can be no closer than 700 feet from property lines. Also, shadow flicker is restricted to 20 hours per year at any home that can receive the shadow flicker.
Here’s the official ballot language:
Shall Ordinance No. 02-2018 adopted by Jonesfield Township on August 20, 2018 amending its Zoning Ordinance by adding Utility Grid Energy Systems to Special Uses and by adding provisions regulating Wind Energy Facilities be approved?
Township Supervisor Larry Tibbits said the majority of the community is in favor of the wind turbines and many property owners have already signed leases with DTE Energy.
“Property owners should have every right to generate revenue from their property,” Tibbits said. “Whether it be sugar beets or corn or grain silos. This is a farming community, so many of them would like to be able to host a turbine or two.”
Jonesfield Township has a population of around 1,800 and is located in western Saginaw County, near Merrill.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on election day.
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