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Wise Township to hold November referendum on turbine provisions

Wise Township voters will decide in November whether they are okay with an amendment to the township’s zoning ordinance creating specific requirements for wind turbines.

The amendment was adopted by the township board in January, said Township Clerk Doris Methner. Cliff Thompson, a township resident, filed petitions in February to take the amendment to an election. Election Day is Nov. 5

Wise Township in 2012 adopted general language providing for wind turbines under special use provision, she said. That language didn’t contain specific information about requirements for things like setbacks, turbine height or decommissioning old turbines, however.

The township board first amended the zoning ordinance last year. That was also challenged and sent to voters last August, who rejected the amendment with 180 voters voting against it to 134 in favor.

The matter could have languished until most of the way through 2020. The township’s rules say that citizen referendums must go to a vote the next general election. That won’t happen until next year’s primary election in August. Methner said they decided to hold a special election in November.

It will be the only thing Wise Township voters will decide on Election Day, and one of only two elections across Isabella County. The other is in Mt. Pleasant, where voters will decide a question liberalizing rules allowing marijuana businesses and on city commissioners.