Monitor Township supervisor recommends restrictions on wind energy ordinance

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MONITOR TOWNSHIP, Michigan (WJRT) - (07/10/2018) - Monitor Township residents who packed a town hall meeting Tuesday night did not hold back on their opinions against allowing a wind farm.

"We don't want them in our township," one man told the crowd.

The residents who spoke out at the planning commission meeting are not in favor of plans by DTE to build a wind farm in their township.

"I want an ordinance that protects the residents," said Township Supervisor Ken Malkin.

He's asking the planning commission to consider a list of recommendations for amendments to the current ordinance, which dates back to 2009.

"I'm going to be recommending that if its zoned residential, that it be at least a mile away," Malkin said.

Other recommendations he's making address setbacks for nonparticipants that are four times the height of the tower-which is the same as Beaver Township and Williams Township.

He also addressed allowable decibel levels.

Malkin admits his list of recommendations are restrictive.

"We're not going to do anything that would to try and legally exclude them," he said. "But we certainly can make it so the regulations protect our residents."

Not everyone opposes the idea of wind turbines, however. One farmer already signed an agreement with DTE to put wind turbines on his land.

"I'm retired, I can use the extra money," said Wayne Bleck. "I don't mind looking at wind turbines."

"When I drive through Gratiot County, I like 'em," he said. "I enjoy seeing them spinning, that's my opinion, very few people agree with that."

He's not the only one who has already leased out their land in hopes of getting a wind turbine, which he said could net him $5,000 to $10,000 a year, plus dividends.

DTE has already secured about 29,000 acres of land with about 300 people, including Bleck. He doesn't think he'll get a wind turbine on his property, however, if the more restrictive recommendations are adopted by the township board.

The next step in the process involves the planning commission discussing the recommendations presented to them on Tuesday evening.

They plan to meet to talk about the ordinance in August.

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