THE SHIAWASSEE COUNTY Board of Commissioners voted on Thursday, June 14, by a 7 to 0 margin, to approve and adopt amendments to Article 4 of the Zoning Regulations regarding the definitions, provisions to general use and local requirements of wind energy conversion systems. The changes, recommended by the Shiawassee County Planning Commission after approximately 18 months of research, discussion and consideration, establish requirements for placement, development, installation and construction regulations of commercial, residential and agricultural wind facilities.

  Wind energy critics and advocates filled the commissioners’ board room at the Surbeck Building in Corunna on Monday, June 11 for the Economic & Physical Development meeting, on Wednesday, June 13 for the Committee of the Whole meeting and on Thursday, June 14 for the board’s final vote on the proposal. Many county residents, both for and against wind energy, addressed the board throughout the week, as did representatives of Tradewind Energy, with the discussion consuming nearly 45 minutes during the June 14 meeting.

   During the June 13 meeting, the commissioners, as they had expressed previously, reiterated that the June 14 vote would not be “shutting the door” on wind energy developments in Shiawassee County, but rather that the new ordinance will set a standard for wind energy developments that is more suitable to the residents of Shiawassee County.

   Conversely, Tradewind representatives warned the commissioners that the new policy is “too restrictive” and would make wind farm construction “not feasible” in Shiawassee County, which could cost the county “millions of dollars” in tax revenue.

   As previously outlined in The Independent, the new ordinance, most notably decreases the allowable turbine height from 600 feet to a maximum of 450 feet; increases the setback of turbines from non-participating property lines to 350 percent of the turbine’s height, which is a marked change from the previous 150 percent; it lowers the acceptable level of noise generated by turbines to an Lmax noise level of 45 decibels at non-participating property lines, which is down from the previous level of 55 decibels; and it does not allow for shadow flicker on non-participating properties.

   Shown discussing the new ordinance during the June 13 Committee of the Whole meeting are commissioners Dan McMaster (left), the current board representative on the Planning Commission, and Mike Bruff, the board’s former Planning Commission representative.

(Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)

Board of Commissioners was last modified: June 18th, 2018 by Karen Elford