Public hearing set on wind ordinance in Almer Twp.

 

Robert Braem, chairman, Almer Township planning commission

A public hearing on proposed changes to the Almer Township wind ordinance is scheduled for July 13 after two planning commission meetings in the last two weeks.
The June 6 meeting lasted nearly three hours and included seven motions related to proposed wind changes.
A meeting held Thursday was only about 30 minutes and briefly reviewed the changes with minor adjustments.
The Almer Township planning commission has been tasked by the township board of trustees with reviewing proposed changes to the township’s existing wind ordinance with a $200 million wind farm project being planned by Juno Beach, Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources L.L.C..
In early May, the Almer Township Planning Commission voted 4-3 to recommend a six-month moratorium on wind turbine development, citing a need to learn more about the machines and their impact. The board of trustees ultimately passed on a moratorium
At the same meeting, the commission also voted to table the discussion and resume at its June meeting.
At the June 6 meeting, several motions were put forth by board members, but failed. Those motions were:

  • Send the wind ordinance back to the township
    board as previously recommended.
  • Change the setback of wind turbines to two times
    the height of a wind turbine.
  • Change the setback of wind turbines to be 1,400
    feet from non-participating property lines.
  • Changes the setback of wind turbines to be 40 decibels at the property line or a minimum of 1,400 feet and eliminating previous setbacks for non-participating properties.

After the fourth consecutive motion failed, there was a long period of silence.
Board member Kelly Avery finally spoke.
“The members voted no on the last proposal. Are you willing to give your reasons why you voted no? What your thoughts are, and so why it’s not acceptable?”
Commission Chair Robert Braem said the sound was too low.
“I looked at that and…I think 40 is on the low side,” he said. “I mean if we’re trying to strike a balance. I guess I like setbacks and numbers better.”
The board continued working toward a possible solution.
Board member Darwin Rushlo made the next motion to change the setback to be three times the high of a wind turbine from a non-participating dwelling and sound level not to exceed 45 decibels from a non-participating dwelling. The motion passed 5-2.
The board successfully went on to make minor changes to the complaint process, decommissioning, and other aspects of the ordinance.
The public hearing will be part of the Almer Township planning commission’s regular July 13 meeting, to be held at 7 p.m. at the Almer Township Hall.
Legal notice of the meeting is expected to be published Wednesday, June 22.
Andrew Dietderich is editor of The Advertiser and can be reached at andrew@tcadvertiser.com

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