2015-06-17 / Front Page

Wind energy company to explain project

Petitions circulate in Moore Township
BY CAROL SEIFFERLEIN 810-452-2684 • cseifferlein@mihomepaper.com

Do you have questions about how the new wind energy project will impact you and your community?

Invenergy LLC is planning a wind farm on about 25,000 acres in Argyle, Lamotte, Moore and Wheatland townships.

Invenergy is hosting three information meetings in Sandusky to discuss the project and answer your questions.

The meetings come as a petition drive wraps-up in Moore Township that aims to challenge the township’s new zoning ordinance for wind turbines.

The Invenergy meetings will be start today (June 17) and continue the next two Wednesdays, June 24 and July 1. The meetings, which feature lunch and are open to the public, will be held at The Dining Room, 422 Woodland Drive in Sandusky from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The luncheon open houses are “open to the public, with drop-ins welcome. We’re delighted to have local residents stop by simply to talk,” the company stated in a press release.

“At a time when local media is reporting that more than 40 percent of Sanilac County residents are struggling financially, we’re ready to invest in the community with an economic infusion that would include payments to local landowners, and millions of dollars annually in tax payments, which would come at a critical time in particular for local schools.”

The press released continued, “In addition, the wind energy project would be a boost for local retailers. The project will have more than 100 workers patronizing area businesses during construction, and a long-term operations staff (of up to ten) will be a part of the community as well,” the press release stated.

“A petition to delay the project would deny the community these critical benefits, and potentially forfeit a once-in-a-generation opportunity for economic growth.”

According to Moore Township Supervisor Greg Dorman, the wind energy amendment was approved May 6 and published May 20. The deadline to file petitions for a November referendum is this week, 30 days from publication, Dorman said.

Raymond Ellis II, one of seven people who obtained 197 signatures on petitions, said they planned to submit the petitions at last night’s (June 16) meeting.

He said petitioners want the wind ordinance re-written to extend the turbine setbacks from property lines.

“We are finding out as we talked with township residents how upset they are when they find out how close wind turbines could be potentially placed to their residence and property lines,” the group said in a press release.

Ellis said the township planning commission proposed setbacks of 1,295 feet, but in a 4-1 vote the board reduced the set backs to approximately 750 feet.

“We thought it was a little restrictive,” said Dorman. “All the neighboring townships have one and a half to two times the height of the turbine (as measured from the top of the blade in the vertical position). The people that brought this actually wanted 1,500 to 1,600 feet. “

Dorman continued, “It is questionable whether windmills would even come with that. Even the one that voted against it (on the board) wanted more like 1,000 feet.”

He added, “Some of them are against windmills, but are in an area that can’t have windmills because of the (Sandusky) airport (on North Sandusky Road). Within four miles of an airport you can’t put up a structure above a certain height,” Dorman explained.

Invenergy has not determined the number of turbines, the turbine type or the construction timeline for this project.

However, they are seeking agreements with landowners for the project. The company has an office in The Traveler’s building at 33 South Elk Street, Sandusky. The phone number is 810- 648-6048.

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