KEVON MARTIS SPOKE to the Owosso Township Planning Commission about his experience fighting wind turbine projects in Riga Township. The commission is exploring the possibility of amending its current zoning ordinances to have more control over wind turbine installations proposed for the township.
(Independent Photo/Jessica Hickey)
by Jessica Hickey, staff writer
Following on the heels of recent discontent over wind turbines proposed for Shiawassee County, the Owosso Township Planning Commission discussed the possibility of amending its current zoning ordinances at a meeting on Thursday, Nov. 3. While the township’s current zoning does include some general requirements that would apply to turbines, such as vibration and noise level limits, the commissioners are interested in exploring the possibility of making the ordinances more explicit in anticipation of wind turbines being built in the township.
The desire to review and possibly amend current ordinances is presumably being driven by the fact that a $250 million wind energy project called Maple Rapids Wind is being planned for the area by Apex Clean Energy. Residents in neighboring areas, including Rush Township, have banded together to fight the project, which is tentatively slated to break ground in March 2017. Kevon Martis, an outspoken opponent of the turbines, addressed the commission at the Nov. 3 meeting. He emphasized the fact that wind turbines in Michigan are often built in unincorporated townships that are under county planning, implying that zoning ordinances at the township level can be an effective deterrent against the installation of wind farms.
The Owosso Township Planning Commission has scheduled a meeting to hear public comment on this issue on Thursday, Dec. 8. If the commission does propose zoning amendments, these will be submitted to the County Planning and Zoning Commission as well as the Owosso Township board for approval. The process does include provisions for public hearings.