Wind vote scheduled for May 7

JAN 11, 2019 | JOSHUA VISSERS | The Daily Mining Gazette

L’ANSE — The L’Anse Township Board approved ballot language Wednesday for a referendum on zoning ordinances regulating wind turbines.

Township Supervisor Peter Magaraggia said the township’s legal council told him the vote needs to take place on May 7, which is considered the next time for a regular election by law.

“We don’t have the liberty to have it like in 2020,” Magaraggia said.

The resolution was passed unanimously, immediately following, a man in the public spoke up about the ballot language in question.

“Is there a reason why we aren’t privy to that information?” he asked. “Would you please read it?”

Magaraggia read the question:

“Shall the L’Anse Township Ordinance No. 2018-10-11-1, entitled An Ordinance to Amend the Township’s Zoning Ordinance Regarding Wind Energy Conversion Systems be approved?”

According to Alicia Rivera, marketing communication manager for Renewable Energy Systems (RES), the Summit Lake Wind Project has been put on hold until after the referendum.

The board also approved a resolution to begin the process of setting up a Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) separate from the Township Board, which the township didn’t realize was needed before. It also sets the Township Board up as the final approval authority for special land use permits.

“It was under the presumption that we were the ZBA, but we cannot be,” Magaraggia said. “There also has to be a public hearing on it.”

The resolution sends a set of proposed amendments to the Planning Commission for consideration and recommendations, which it will return the the board for adoption after a public hearing takes place.

The board approved the resolution 4-1, with Kristine Rice voting against.

“I’m not comfortable having that authority to make decisions on special land uses,” Rice said.

A public meeting is scheduled for Jan. 30 from 4-7 p.m. to gather information and public comment concerning the zoning master plan.

OHM Advisors has also been invited to gather suggestions for the further development and use of the Meadow Brook arena.

The township also struggled with a computer virus during the last couple of weeks.

“We lost everything after 2015,” said Assessor Jim Fedie.

The virus also got into the primary backup storage. Many of the files in question were also backed up on individuals’ laptops or hard copies, and most of the information was recovered or re-entered.

“Everybody worked hard to get us back to where we need to be,” Magaraggia said.

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