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Wind, solar-related recalls now pending in Cato and Belvidere townships  

Credit:  By Elisabeth Waldon | Daily News | September 08, 2022 | www.thedailynews.cc ~~

Four more officials in two more townships are now facing recalls related to their votes on wind and solar energy ordinances.

Cato Township Supervisor Larry Gilbert, Clerk Todd Lincoln and Trustee Jourdan Lindsay are all facing a recall attempt after they voted to approve their township’s proposed wind energy ordinance, while Belvidere Township Supervisor John Anderson is also facing a recall attempt for his votes regarding his township’s wind and solar ordinances.

A recall clarity hearing for both matters is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Sept. 16 before the Montcalm County Election Commission at the Montcalm County Administrative Building in Stanton. The hearing is open to the public.

The recalls wouldn’t appear on a ballot until May 2023 at the earliest.

CATO TOWNSHIP

Jamie Snyder of Cato Township initiated the recall attempt against Gilbert, Lincoln and Lindsay.

The three men voted “yes” on Aug. 1 to approve a new wind ordinance with multiple changes made to it by Lincoln, despite multiple residents – including Snyder – asking them to approve the ordinance as written by the township’s Planning Commission.

Lincoln made a motion to change the ordinance’s wind turbine height limit from 400 feet to 500 feet; to change turbine setbacks from four times the tip height to 1.5 times the tip height from roads and from 1.5 miles to a quarter-mile from minor lakes and streams (setbacks remain at 1.5 miles from the township’s four major lakes as well as for wetlands 10 acres or larger according to a newly approved amendment); and to change turbine sound limits from Lmax to Leq 10 minute average (50 decibels at a property line, and 45 decibels from an occupied structure for non-participating properties).

Lincoln, Gilbert and Lindsay voted “yes” to the ordinance with changes, while Clerk Joyce Grieser and Trustee Dave Behrenwald voted “no.” While the township’s Planning Commission went to great lengths to explain their research and why they wrote the draft ordinance the way they did, Lincoln declined to explain his reasoning for making the changes.

Snyder’s proposed recall language against Gilbert, Lincoln and Lindsay is as follows (three petitions against each of the three men):

• “On Aug. 1, 2022, at a regular meeting of the Cato Township Board of Trustees, (Gilbert/Lincoln/Lindsay) as (supervisor/clerk/trustee) voted to approve Ordinance No. 2022-8-1, an ordinance to amend the township’s zoning ordinance to permit and regulate wind energy turbines (the ‘wind ordinance’). The wind ordinance provides that (a) the total height of a wind turbine shall not exceed 500 feet and (b) the setback from all roads and other infrastructure shall be one and one half times (1.5x) the total height of the wind turbine. The wind ordinance was adopted by a vote of 3-2.”

• “On Aug. 1, 2022, at a regular meeting of the Cato Township Board of Trustees, (Gilbert/Lincoln/Lindsay) as (supervisor/clerk/trustee) voted to approve Ordinance No. 2022-8-1, an ordinance to amend the township’s zoning ordinance to permit and regulate wind energy turbines (the ‘wind ordinance’). The wind ordinance was adopted by a vote of 3-2.”

• “On Aug. 1, 2022, at a regular meeting of the Cato Township Board of Trustees, (Gilbert/Lincoln/Lindsay) as (supervisor/clerk/trustee) voted to approve Ordinance No. 2022-8-1, an ordinance to amend the township’s zoning ordinance to permit and regulate wind energy turbines (the ‘wind ordinance’). The wind ordinance provides that the total height of a wind turbine shall not exceed 500 feet. The wind ordinance was adopted by a vote of 3-2.”

BELVIDERE TOWNSHIP

Judith Spring of Belvedere Township initiated the recall attempt against Anderson. When reached by phone to clarify why she wants to recall Anderson, Spring declined to comment.

The Belvidere Township Board voted this past April to approve a solar energy ordinance and a wind energy ordinance.

The solar ordinance will go to a voter referendum in November’s general election after township resident Ken Purchase filed a notice of intent to referendum, citing concerns with the ordinance’s lack of lot coverage requirements for solar panels and the sound limit of 55 decibels from a property line. Purchase also wants better wildlife habitat protection, as well as protection against clear cutting of forests and protection of real estate values.

The wind ordinance is not going to a voter referendum.

Spring’s proposed recall language against Anderson (a total of seven petitions, each with slightly different wording) is as follows:

• “On April 13, 2022, during a regular meeting of the Belvidere Township Board, Supervisor John Anderson voted in favor to approve Wind Ordinance 18-4 with the correction, thereby amending the zoning regulations for wind energy systems in Belvedere Township. The wind ordinance was adopted and provides that (a) the permitted maximum total wind turbine height shall be 550 feet and (b) the minimum setback from a road right-of-way shall be equal to 1.1 times the turbine height.”

• “On April 13, 2022, during a regular meeting of the Belvidere Township Board, Supervisor John Anderson voted in favor to approve Wind Ordinance 18-4 with the correction, thereby amending the zoning regulations for wind energy systems in Belvedere Township. The wind ordinance was adopted and provides that (a) the permitted maximum total wind turbine height shall be 550 feet.”

• “On April 13, 2022, during a regular meeting of the Belvidere Township Board, Supervisor John Anderson voted in favor to approve Wind Ordinance 18-4 with the correction, thereby amending the zoning regulations for wind energy systems in Belvedere Township.”

• “On April 15, 2022, during a special meeting of the Belvidere Township Board, Supervisor John Anderson voted in favor to adopt the solar ordinance as corrected, thereby amending the zoning regulations for solar energy systems in Belvedere Township. The solar ordinance was adopted as Ordinance 18-3 and provides that ground-mounted solar panels that are part of a solar energy stem that occupies more than 10,000 square feet of combined roof and land area shall be set back a minimum of 300 feet from lot lines and shall not exceed 15 feet in height.”

• “On April 15, 2022, during a special meeting of the Belvidere Township Board, Supervisor John Anderson voted in favor to adopt the solar ordinance as corrected, thereby amending the zoning regulations for solar energy systems in Belvedere Township. The solar ordinance was adopted as Ordinance 18-3 and provides that ground-mounted solar panels that are part of a solar energy stem that occupies more than 10,000 square feet of combined roof and land area shall not exceed 15 feet in height.”

• “On April 15, 2022, during a special meeting of the Belvidere Township Board, Supervisor John Anderson voted in favor to adopt the solar ordinance as corrected, thereby amending the zoning regulations for solar energy systems in Belvedere Township. The solar ordinance was adopted as Ordinance 18-3 and provides that ground-mounted solar panels that are part of a solar energy stem that occupies more than 10,000 square feet of combined roof and land area shall be set back a minimum of 300 feet from lot lines.”

• “On April 15, 2022, during a special meeting of the Belvidere Township Board, Supervisor John Anderson voted in favor to adopt the solar ordinance as corrected, thereby amending the zoning regulations for solar energy systems in Belvedere Township.”

Recalls and referendums

Multiple recall and referendum efforts are underway against multiple township officials in Montcalm County. Here’s the current status:

• BELVIDERE TOWNSHIP: Supervisor John Anderson is facing a recall effort from Judith Spring related to Anderson’s votes on wind and solar ordinances. The recall wouldn’t appear on a ballot until May 2023 at the earliest. Trustee Wayne Watts lost his August primary election bid against challenger Tarin Minkel related in part to the ongoing wind and solar debate. The township’s new solar ordinance, which was approved in April, will go to a voter referendum in November’s general election.

• CATO TOWNSHIP: Supervisor Larry Gilbert, Clerk Todd Lincoln and Trustee Jourdan Lindsay are all facing a recall effort from Jamie Snyder related to their votes on a wind ordinance. The recall wouldn’t appear on a ballot until May 2023 at the earliest.

• DOUGLASS TOWNSHIP: Supervisor Terry Anderson, Clerk Ronda Snyder and Trustee Tom Jeppesen will all appear in a recall on November’s general election ballot in an effort initiated by Ben Reynolds related to their votes on a wind ordinance. Trustee Pat Althoff lost his August primary election bid against challenger Eric Tester due in part to Althoff’s vote on the wind ordinance. The township’s two new wind ordinances will go to a voter referendum in November’s general election.

• MAPLE VALLEY TOWNSHIP: Supervisor John Schwandt will appear in a recall on November’s general election ballot in an effort initiated by Robin Poulsen related to Schwandt’s vote on a wind ordinance. Clerk Cathy Benson and Trustee Ben Newell both lost their August primary election bids against their respective challengers Andi Knapp and Tim Thornhill related in part to Benson’s and Newell’s vote on a wind ordinance. The township’s new wind ordinance will go to a voter referendum in November’s general election.

• SIDNEY TOWNSHIP: Erik Benko, the founder of Montcalm County Citizens United, a Facebook-based group “advocating against the irresponsible and invasive placement of industrial wind turbines and solar arrays in Montcalm County,” was elected to the Sidney Township Board in a recall this past May, ousting trustee Jed Welder who was recalled in a 63% to 32% margin related to that township’s wind ordinance.

• WINFIELD TOWNSHIP: Supervisor Phyllis Larson, Clerk Colleen Stebbins and Trustee John Black will all appear in a recall on November’s general election ballot in an effort initiated by Dave Meyers related to their votes on a wind ordinance. The township’s solar ordinance went to a voter referendum in August and failed by a margin of 71% to 29% meaning the township remains without a solar ordinance. The township’s new wind ordinance, which was approved in June, will go to a voter referendum in November’s general election.

Source:  By Elisabeth Waldon | Daily News | September 08, 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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