Planning commission prepares to tackle wind ordinance

By Bill Petzold
Staff Writer

DENMARK TWP — Wind and water again were topics of discussion and debate at Monday’s lengthy Denmark Township board meeting at Denmark Township Hall.

Trustee Steve Schwab made a motion to appoint Fred Wirth to the planning commission to fill the last remaining opening. Current planning commission members include Wirth, Arnold Krumnauer, Tim Rupprecht, Bob Kern and Rollie Wenzel.

The first orders of business for the planning commission will be appointing officers, as well as drafting bylaws. The group then will undertake the task of working on a wind ordinance that will determine the rules for placing wind turbines in the township.

Those in favor of windmills, as well as representative Erin Brusch of wind energy company Invenergy, spoke during public comment, urging the planning commission to draft the long-awaited wind ordinance in a timely fashion so that the construction of wind turbines can proceed. Those opposed to wind energy also asked the commission to consider the number of residents who are not in favor of additional windmill construction.


Gary Hicks of trash removal company Republic Services spoke to the township board and residents. The township’s contract with Billys Contracting for trash removal is expiring this year, and Hicks explained what Republic Services can offer. Many residents at the meeting said that they would be in favor of going with Republic, which would provide wheeled garbage totes for both trash and recycling like those used in other townships serviced by Republic.

Township clerk Charles Heinlein gave an update on the abandoned water district. Thirty-four appeals have been heard by the Michigan Tax tribunal, and the township continues to wait for the referee’s decision. The board still was unable to discuss any issues related to the project because of pending lawsuits and tax tribunal hearings.

Heinlein also was appointed to the township Zoning Board of Appeals for a three-year term as the township board representative, joining township elector Jim Wilkenson and planning commission representative Rollie Wenzel. Board of Review members Bob Kern, Paul Hoerlein and Jim Spiekerman also were sworn in during the meeting.

A possible two- or three-mill proposal for road improvements in Denmark Township was discussed with residents, with the thought that it could be added to the next ballot.

The township’s current one-mill for road repairs expires this year, and township supervisor Don Petro explained that the only way to prevent certain less frequently traveled roads in the township from being ground up and returned to gravel roads would be for residents to pass a three-mill increase. Petro explained that a one-mill increase would not prevent those certain roads from being turned into gravel, while a two-mill approval would prevent most but not all roads from being repaved.

Residents were asked to weigh in during public comments with their opinions on the road millage proposal. Some in attendance said that they were in favor of improving the roads, but doubtful that a three-mill proposal would pass at this time. Others expressed the opinion that council would have a better chance of renewing the expiring one mill for road repair.

Bill Petzold is a staff writer for the Tuscola County Advertiser. He can be reached at 

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