The Sales Pitch: A Promise with no Guarantees
RES drafts tax promise in L’Anse
AUG 10, 2018| L’ANSE | JOSHUA VISSERS |The Mining Gazette
More than 50 people filled the L’Anse Township Hall for Wednesday’s township board meeting to deliberate the Summit Lake Wind Project proposal and the zoning that governs it.
L’Anse Township tax assessor Jim Fedie revealed the basics of a draft letter from Renewable Energy Systems (RES) outlining a tax revenue guarantee for the Summit Lake Wind Project. The draft agreement states that at least 80 percent of currently projected tax revenue would be paid for the first 15 years, regardless of what state tax authority does.
“This is just a draft,” Fedie said, emphasizing that the letter is still in development.
According to Sean Stocker, project manager for RES, if state tax assessment went up, RES would still be required to pay the increase.
“We’re guaranteeing the bottom,” Stocker said.
The taxes would be calculated based on the total cost of the project, not the number of windmills, Stocker emphasized.
“We want to be good neighbors and part of the community,” Stocker said.
At last month’s board meeting, a recommendation from the planning commission that would disallow Large Wind Energy Conversion Systems (LWECS) in forest resource districts was voted down. At Wednesday’s meeting, a new proposal for changes to township zoning ordinances was recommended to the planning commission by the board.
“It’s basically just the exact opposite,” Peter Magaraggia, township supervisor, said.
Magaraggia put the proposal forward insisting that something needed to change in the zoning rules that conflict with each other. Several members of the public voiced their desire for a public vote on the issue.
“This isn’t a done deal either way,” Magaraggia said. “Once we make the change in zoning, that’s what triggers the referendum process.”
The vote to send the new recommendation to the planning commission was unanimous.
Burt Mason, president of the Friends of the Huron Mountains, introduced their lawyer, Jana Mathieu, a criminal defense lawyer from Marquette.
Mathieu asserted that the meteorological assessment towers that were erected in 2017 did not have the proper permitting, making them illegal.
“There’s a lot of people here concerned that you’re talking out of both sides of your mouth,” she said.