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County postpones wind farm vote

The county board has tabled a decision for the building permit requested by EDPR to construct Harvest Ridge Wind Farm in northeast corner of Douglas County.

Monday, June 3, the board voted to postpone the vote to allow the subcommittee, that overseeing the Wind Energy Conversion System ordinance and the application, to collect more information following a series of meetings and a hearing.

The WECS subcommittee will meet Tuesday, June 18 to review the additional information in order to make a recommendation to the full board for a vote at 9 a.m. Wednesday, May 19 during the regular board meeting.

Douglas County Board Chairman Don Munson said Monday that it was a sign of inexperience to schedule the final vote only days after hearing from more than 50 residents and stakeholders at the Thursday, May 30 hearing. During the nearly four-hour hearing, about 20 residents and stakeholders spoke in favor of the wind farm, while about 30 spoke against, including two attorneys representing about a dozen property owners total.

Of the concerns presented by those against the wind farm, a common theme was the potential of infringement on their rights to enjoy their property due to potential low-frequency noise, shadow flicker, and a drop in real estate values along with concern for to cost of decommissioning and hindrance of farming processes including aerial applications.

Those in favor of the farm detailed their support for the investment into the community and the potential good the tax dollars could do for public services. Other landowners spoke of their rights to do as they please with their land including their right to a “bountiful harvest,” including wind.

However, many of the concerns were not new to the county board, for one year residents and stakeholders have attended subcommittee and board meetings expressing their support and concern for the wind farm construction that is slated to begin this year.

The proposed Harvest Ridge Wind Farm consists of 48 wind turbines that will have a capacity to produce 200 megawatts of energy, project manager Amy Kurtz said during the hearing Thursday. The turbines are slated to stand nearly 600 feet tall, according to the more than 1,000 page application.

The full story can be found in the Wednesday, June 5 edition of The Tuscola Journal.