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Letter to the Editor


Thomas J. Foster, New Haven Township

5:04 pm

Independent Editor,

   There seems to be a lack of transparency involving certain members of the New Haven Township board over a resolution that finally passed at the board’s Oct. 19 meeting after months of questionable delays. The timeline for the New Haven Township board to approve the resolution shows division and apprehension. The meeting involved the adoption of a resolution written by former judge and township resident, Gerald Lostracco. This resolution was a formal opinion by the township board to the county, stating their opposition to any future solar development within the township. New Haven Township currently remains under the jurisdiction of Shiawassee County for its zoning purposes. Hazelton and Venice townships have taken back their zoning from the county under an Interim Zoning Ordinance. Vernon Township followed in September by adopting the ordinance. At the Shiawassee County Board of Commissioner’s Economic Development committee meeting in June, it was announced by Pete Preston, director of Community Development, that commercial development was coming to New Haven Township. The question is “What commercial development?” New Haven Township does not have any commercial businesses within the township. With the influx of solar leases having been signed by landowners in New Haven Township, the obvious conclusion is a commercial solar energy project. Chesaning Township is currently being targeted by DTE for a 2,077-acre solar project in the southeastern section of the township. The leases signed by landowners in New Haven Township, are with DTE. New Haven Township borders Chesaning Township to the south along the Saginaw County/Shiawassee County line. Since the revelation of a commercial development project coming into the township, concerned residents have asked the township board to address the solar issue. At the township board’s July meeting, Mr. Lostrocco agreed to write the resolution, which he delivered at the August meeting. At the September meeting, the board moved forward to have the township attorney review the document despite it having been written by a former judge. This delay over the resolution did not go unnoticed by township residents attending the board meetings. Petitions against solar projects within the township are being circulated and signatures being obtained. Residents informed the board of the petitions at both the September and October meetings. At the October meeting, the township board voted 4 to 1 to approve the resolution. Heather Wirwicki, township clerk, voted no. Supervisor Tim Hill, who has displayed past resistance to the resolution, voted yes. For some reason, supervisor Hill directed the township residents to attend the county’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) meeting also held that night, and was told to take their petition and the resolution before the board. Why he did so, is unclear since the ZBA has nothing to do with the county’s solar ordinance. The resolution and one of the petitions were presented to Preston at the ZBA meeting. Preston oversees both the county ZBA and planning commission. With Hill being the Building and Grounds Superintendent for the county, one might expect some consistency in following procedures.

Thomas J. Foster, New Haven Township

Thomas J. Foster, New Haven Township was last modified: November 29th, 2022 by Karen Elford