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Belvidere Township Planning Commission sends wind ordinance to township board  

Credit:  Draft will first be reviewed by Montcalm County Planning Commission | By Elisabeth Waldon | Daily News | March 10, 2022 | www.thedailynews.cc ~~

BELVIDERE TOWNSHIP – The township Planning Commission is sending its draft wind energy ordinance to the board after making a few more tweaks.

The ordinance will first be reviewed by the Montcalm County Planning Commission before going to a vote at the township board level.

Belvidere Township Planning Commission Chairwoman Betty Jo “BJ” Cogswell and members Fran Christensen, Joe Lahti, Pat Stuller, Lanny Vanderveen and Wayne Watts were all present for Tuesday’s half-hour meeting, while Marcia Pant was absent.

The purpose of the brief meeting was to clarify the wording of the proposed wind ordinance, which the Planning Commission previously held a public hearing on. The Planning Commission unanimously voted to tweak the wording of the ordinance as follows:

• Adding language regarding transportation and road repair in conjunction with Road Commission for Montcalm County standards.

• Adding language regarding an escrow account.

• Eliminating a turbine setback requirement for participating properties (it was previously one-half a turbine’s height from a property line).

• Eliminating “not less than 2,000 feet from a dwelling” from the language about turbine height, as it’s already set at four times a turbine’s height from a non-participating property line.

• Eliminating wording about “barbed wire” fencing around turbines, just leaving a requirement for a 10-foot fence.

“I think everything looks good,” Watts summarized.

The wind ordinance as currently drafted limits turbine height to 550 feet with minimum setbacks of four times a turbine’s height from non-participating property lines and 1.1 times a turbine’s height from road right-of-ways. Shadow flicker is prohibited on non-participating properties.

Turbine noise is limited to 55 decibels on the dB(A) scale as measured at the property line and 45 decibels on the dB(A) scale from the exterior of a dwelling at a non-participating parcel. The sound pressure level shall not be exceeded for more than three minutes in any hour of the day. If the ambient sound pressure level exceeds 55 decibels, the standard shall be the ambient dB(A) plus 5 decibels.

Only two township residents spoke during public comment – Ken Purchase and Tarin Minkel – both of whom requested changes to the noise regulations. They both wanted the sound to be 55 decibels Lmax and 45 decibels Lmax at night (Lmax is the highest sound level measured during a single noise event).

“So when we’re outside enjoying our property, we don’t have to worry about the sound going above that sound limit,” Purchase explained. “At times these wind turbines do make excessive noise when running. All we’re asking is that we can have the enjoyment on our own properties of not having any higher sound level than that. If that would be there, that would be perfect, I would be happy with what you guys have written in total.”

The Planning Commission did not take any action on the sound level request.

Minkel also requested that language be added to the ordinance requiring a wind developer to apply for Aircraft Detection Lighting System (ADLS) status from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in order to limit flashing lights on turbines at night.

“Tarin’s being kind in asking for the ADLS lights – I would say they must have them because that could drive me insane,” said Linda Reynolds of Douglass Township. “I think Wayne (Watts) said before that it is in there (in the ordinance), that they must have them?”

“It is,” Watts affirmed.

“It is, we made sure of that,” Cogswell added.

However, the draft wind ordinance does not mention ADLS. It references, “A lighting plan describing all lighting that will be utilized, including any lighting that may be required by the Federal Aviation Authority. Such plan shall include but shall not be limited to the planned number and location of lights, light color and whether any lights will be flashing.”

“When we made the comment ‘it’s in there,’ we were referencing D(2) lighting plan,” Watts told the Daily News on Wednesday. “A lighting plan must be submitted and the PC will make sure an application has been filed with the FAA.”

The Belvidere Township Planning Commission is next scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. on April 12.

Source:  Draft will first be reviewed by Montcalm County Planning Commission | By Elisabeth Waldon | Daily News | March 10, 2022 | www.thedailynews.cc

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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