The Huron County Planning Commission passed a number of site plan reviews dealing with wind turbines and business expansions at its monthly meeting this week.
The first plan had do with modifying the site plan for the Apple Blossom wind farm so that two of its turbines could operate at full power.
Andrew Johnson, a representative for the wind farm, said they had gotten easements from neighboring property owners that would be affected by the turbine’s sound levels.
Apple Blossom did turn five turbines into a special sound optimization mode 2 in December 2018 as it found they had exceeded the noise capacity of the wind energy ordinance.
“Its like having a mustang going at 90 miles per hour instead of 150,” Johnson explained.
Johnson said that in the wind farm’s first year of operation before the mode was changed on those five turbines, the company did not received any noise complaints from neighboring residents.
Jeff Smith, the county’s building and zoning director, did ask about the other three turbines that are still in the special noise optimization mode and if any testing was done there to ensure their compliance. Johnson said that testing could not be done at some locations because the affected landowners were not willing to allow that.
The planners voted 5-0 in favor of approving the site plan changes, as planner J. Dean Smith abstained since he owned property in the area affected by Apple Blossom and three other planners, Todd Talaski, Jeremy Polega, and Julie Epperson, were absent.
The Apple Blossom wind farm operates 29 turbines in Winsor Township that have a combined maximum output of 100 megawatts.
The planners also approved site plans for two expansion projects for area businesses. One was for the Bay Port Inn, which wants to add a covered outdoor seating area and stage structure for performances.
The seating area would be 31 feet by 43 feet and the stage would be 16 feet by 20 feet. Construction for both is being handled by Booms Construction.
Smith said the plans would need variance approval from the county zoning board of appeals, as the stage’s plan currently does not comply with setback requirements and these additions would have the buildings exceed the 25% lot size. They would not meet the deadline for being part of the next ZBA meeting, so they would require a special meeting that would not happen for three or four weeks at least.
The approved site plans for the Bay Port Inn are dependent upon the ZBA granting variance permits for the projects.
The other site plan approval was for Blue Diamond Steel Castings in Pigeon, which is looking to build an addition to its foundry operations on its northeast corner.
Daryl Mendrick, the environmental and health safety director for parent company Huron Casting, said the 82-by-200-foot addition would interfere with easements of a nearby county ditch and that the county drain commissioners had already approved a licensing agreement to allow construction.
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