• Townships’ wind turbine tax appeals going to Court of Appeals
    The next chapter in Huron County’s wind turbine taxation troubles has started. Bloomfield and Sigel Townships have filed a new extensive appeal brief in the Michigan Court of Appeals against its ruling that it owed back taxes to DTE over wind turbines. The Michigan Tax Tribunal issued an opinion and judgement in June in favor of DTE, which had sued to lower its tax commitments to the townships, county, and school districts. It was the first such commercial wind turbine . . .
  • Daily News FOIA of Pine Township reveals wind energy thoughts from 3 law firms
    PINE TOWNSHIP – When the Pine Township supervisor recommended in September to hire a specific law firm to handle wind energy ordinance-related work, the decision appeared to have been all but finalized days earlier. Meanwhile, the attorney for the law firm that Pine Township later actually voted to hire shared candid thoughts about “the growing debate in communities across Michigan and around the country about the extent to which municipalities can and should regulate through zoning the construction and operation of . . .
  • The nays have it: Stanton Township survey finds 83% opposed to wind turbines; planning commission idea to go to referendum
    STANTON TOWNSHIP – Stanton Township voters opposed wind turbine projects by a large margin in survey results announced Wednesday, months before they will likely head to the polls to formally vote on creating a planning commission that could write a zoning ordinance restricting the turbines. About 83% of the 384 voters who responded to the survey were against the turbines, Township Supervisor Marty Rajala announced Wednesday. The board decided in August to send the survey to every registered voter in the . . .
  • Townships remain against windmills
    A fight continues between Stanton and Adams Twp. residents against Circle Power over the development of 12 industrial wind turbines in Adams Twp. The Guardians of the Keweenaw Ridge, a non-profit has been assisting the townships in education and outreach to help block the developers. During Wednesday’s Stanton Twp. board meeting it was revealed that out of a survey of 384 residents, 83% oppose windmill development. The survey results came in only days after Circle Power, a Royal Oak Company, . . .
  • Circle Power shifts turbine project: all 12 now planned for Adams Twp.
    ADAMS TOWNSHIP – Circle Power is amending its Scotia Wind project to put all 12 proposed turbines in Adams Township. The project had been planned to include four 575-foot turbines in Adams Township and eight more in Stanton Township. Adams Township has a police powers ordinance regulating wind turbines, with a setback of 3,000 feet. Stanton Township is still developing an ordinance. Based on how things were progressing in Stanton Township, a similar setback would be in place there, said Circle . . .
  • Circle Power amends its wind farm plans
    Circle Power executive Chris Moore said his company intends to double the number of wind turbines in its development proposal for Adams Township at a Monday meeting of the Board of Trustees. Originally, four were slotted for the municipality with another eight set for neighboring Stanton Township. The Stanton sites have been withdrawn, at least temporarily. Adams Township Supervisor Gerald Heikkinen revealed to the board that a Freedom of Information Act request had been filed by the Varnum Law Firm . . .
  • New legislation would set wind turbine tax table
    An end may be coming soon to the numerous wind turbine taxation lawsuits across Michigan, and the solution is coming from the state Legislature. Two separate bills introduced in both the state House of Representatives and Senate, if passed, would institute an applicable multiplier for how wind turbines are taxed, setting a standard depreciation table across the state. The legislation has turbines taxed at 100% of their value for their first tax year, and their value will decrease by 5% . . .
  • Cato Township Board tables hiring wind attorney, hears more calls for recusal
    The Cato Township Planning Commission earlier this month paused working on a wind ordinance to seek legal advice amid residents repeatedly voicing conflict of interest concerns. The Cato Township Board voted on Sept. 13 to table the Planning Commission’s Sept. 8 request for legal counsel and to not allow them to have any more wind meetings until an attorney has been retained. [rest of article available at source]
  • Bloomer Township Planning Commission tweaking wind turbine noise limits
    BLOOMER TOWNSHIP – The Bloomer Township Planning Commission is working with their attorney to make turbine sound limits more restrictive in their pending wind ordinance. Chairman Doug Proctor and planners John Dennis, Ed Hagerman, Craig Keiffer, Mark Ryan and Gail Witter were all present for Tuesday’s meeting while Secretary Tara Chapko (who is also a township board member) was absent. Only five people were in the audience (including this reporter and two township officials) and no public comments were given. The . . .
  • Bloomer Township Planning Commission tweaking wind turbine noise limits
    The Bloomer Township Planning Commission is working with their attorney to make turbine sound limits more restrictive in their pending wind ordinance. [rest of article available at source]
  • When pressed, Pine Township supervisor says current law firm recommended another law firm to handle wind ordinance
    A recommendation for a new law firm to assist with Pine Township’s wind energy ordinance came from the township’s current law firm —which is currently representing a wind energy developer looking to construct turbines within the township. [rest of article available at source]
  • Winfield Township supervisor declines to recuse herself as wind discussion continues
    WINFIELD TOWNSHIP – The former superintendent of the Ionia Area Intermediate School District is the newest member of the Winfield Township Planning Commission. The Winfield Township Board voted 5-0 on Thursday at the recommendation of Supervisor Phyllis Larson to appoint George Hubbard to the Planning Commission, which is in the midst of creating a wind energy ordinance as Virginia-based Apex Clean Energy continues to work on a proposed wind turbine project in Montcalm County. Hubbard fills a vacancy on the Planning . . .
  • Montcalm Township Board looking into hiring planner to help in with wind ordinance
    Tired of back-and-forth discussions between township officials and members of the public throughout the past year, Doug Crowley wants to include an element he believes has been missing regarding the fate of local wind energy – professionalism. [rest of article available at source]
  • ‘I will continue’
    CATO TOWNSHIP – The Cato Township Planning Commission pressed pause on wind ordinance work to seek legal advice as one of its own members fielded multiple requests from residents for her to step down. Wednesday’s meeting began with nearly an hour of public comment voicing concerns about Apex Clean Energy’s wind turbine proposal for Montcalm County, as well as concerns about possible conflicts of interest within the township. Planning Commission Secretary Kim Carr is married to Patrick Q. Carr and they . . .
  • Pine Township to hire new wind ordinance attorney
    Pine Township officials are backing off from using the same law firm to help update the township’s wind ordinance who is also representing a wind energy developer looking to construct turbines within the township. [rest of article available at source]
  • Maple Valley Twp. public comment devolves into name-calling
    MAPLE VALLEY TOWNSHIP – The Maple Valley Township Planning Commission introduced two new members and voted unanimously to recommend the township board extend a wind energy moratorium as planners continue to work on a wind ordinance. However, public comment at last Thursday’s meeting was overshadowed by name-calling from one Douglass Township woman to another. Audience members also continued to voice their concerns about conflict of interest issues on the Planning Commission. Melissa Bannen of Douglass Township, who is well known as . . .
  • Montcalm Township planners vote to abandon proposed wind ordinance
    MONTCALM TOWNSHIP – One meeting at a time, planners are steadily working their way toward establishing a new wind energy ordinance for the township – even if that means abandoning prior proposals. During Wednesday evening’s special meeting of the Montcalm Township Planning Commission, commissioners took their first concrete step in choosing a direction to go forward by voting unanimously, with Chairman Richard “Dick” Karnatz recused, to abandon a proposed amended wind ordinance that has been under evaluation since August of last year . . .
  • Belvidere Township Planning Commission works through proposed wind ordinance
    BELVIDERE TOWNSHIP – The Belvidere Township Planning Commission is getting “pretty close” to finalizing a proposed wind ordinance for the township, according to the former Planning Commission chairman. On Tuesday, the Belvidere Township Planning Commission met in front of an audience of roughly 15 people to discuss a proposed wind ordinance for the township. With the Belvidere Township Board recently appointing Planning Commission Chairman Wayne Watts as a township trustee, the meeting kicked off with a new Planning Commission chairman appointment. . . .
  • Updated master plan sent to county commission
    It started as a request for a county-wide wind turbine zoning ordinance to battle a proposed DTE wind farm in the four northwest townships. Now the updated Branch County master plan is nearing completion. It does not deal directly with wind and solar energy issues, but leaves regulation up to each individual township. At its September quarterly meeting Wednesday, the Branch County Planning Commission approved the draft of the revised 1993 master plan to be sent to the county commission . . .
  • Conflicted about conflict of interest
    WINFIELD TOWNSHIP – The Winfield Township Planning Commission continued to work on creating a wind ordinance Monday evening despite multiple audience members asking for those who had signed easement agreements with a wind developer to recuse themselves. More than 100 people were in attendance at the nearly three-hour meeting held at Crossroads Worship Center just north of Howard City. All seven commissioners were present – Chairman Chris Rader and planners John Black, Ben Gordon, Ken Fisk, Ken Kool, Julia Potratz and Dale . . .
  • Oakfield Township planners ask to pursue wind, solar ordinances
    OAKFIELD TOWNSHIP – In a rural section of Kent County about 20 minutes northeast of Grand Rapids, some township officials have placed a point of focus on the happenings of their neighbors to the east in Montcalm County. During Tuesday evening’s meeting of the Oakfield Township Planning Commission, Township Supervisor Greg Dean brought forth a topic that has consumed much of the news cycle of Montcalm County over the past year – wind and solar energy ordinances. Dean said while no wind . . .
  • Pine Township signed Apex Clean Energy waiver with law firm in May 2020
    PINE TOWNSHIP – The former Pine Township supervisor signed a waiver more than a year ago with the same law firm that’s now representing a wind energy developer looking to construct industrial turbines in the township. Ed Hansen, who was at that time the supervisor of Pine Township, signed a waiver with Grand Rapids-based law firm Dickinson Wright in May 2020. The Daily News obtained a copy of the waiver via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request after the topic . . .
  • Adams Township passes wind farm moratorium
    The Adams Township Board joined Stanton Township in passing a moratorium on all commercial renewable energy projects. The measure will make it impossible to get the ok for the proposed Scotia Wind Farm for at least six months. Several government agencies have already weighed in on the project, denying approval. That decision is being appealed by Circle Power. Stanton Township’s moratorium is nine months in length, compared to six, which may push any construction into 2023, assuming Circle Power can . . .
  • Hitting pause: Adams Township adopts six-month wind, solar moratorium
    ADAMS TOWNSHIP – The Adams Township Board voted unanimously to impose a six-month moratorium on approving applications for commercial wind and solar projects Wednesday. Supervisor Gerald Heikkinen said the board would take the time to find more information about renewable power. “I know everybody in this room is probably against it, but there are still people that are for it, so we have to take the middle of the road,” he said. ” The township is one of the proposed locations . . .
  • Pine Township violates Open Meetings Act
    The majority of the Pine Township Planning Commission voted to adjourn Monday’s meeting in the middle of public comment, a clear violation of the Michigan Open Meetings Act. The abrupt adjournment came in the middle of residents protesting the fact that the attorney Pine Township is preparing to use to advise them on their wind ordinance is also employed by a law firm which locally represents Apex Clean Energy on the topic of wind ordinances. The Planning Commission spent 90 . . .
  • Dangers of wind turbines discussed Monday
    STANTON TOWNSHIP – Opponents of a proposed wind turbine farm heard about possible impacts on birds from a local birder Monday. Joe Youngman helped found the Manitou Island Bird Survey, and helped to advance the Keweenaw Raptor Survey, the forerunner of the still-active Brockway Hawk Watch. He has also conducted counts at sites like Freda. Youngman described what he’d learned about the birds’ migratory paths at a meeting held by Guardians of the Keweenaw Ridge, a citizens group formed to stop . . .
  • Conflicts of interest and FOIA requests
    WINFIELD TOWNSHIP – A nonprofit organization has been formed by residents in response to Winfield Township’s ongoing work on wind and solar energy ordinances. Tricia Korhorn of Winfield Township reported during last Thursday’s Winfield Township Board meeting that Winfield Township True has been formed by township residents for the purposes of “community service activities, including informing the community regarding various energy and other related topics; conduct research and data collection regarding local energy options and solutions; provide education and information dissemination . . .
  • Montcalm Twp. trustee frustrated by conflict of interest issue
    With a few rips of a piece of paper, a Montcalm Township Board member expressed his frustration in dramatic fashion Wednesday evening regarding a subject that has hung over this township for several months – conflict of interest. Trustee Brian Cousineau requested that the topic of Planning Commission Chairman Richard “Dick” Karnatz be placed on the meeting’s agenda. [rest of article available at source]
  • Circle Power hits standstill with Scotia wind farm
    The winds are gone from circle power’s sails. On July 30th EGLE rejected the company’s proposal to build 12 wind turbines in the Stanton and Adams township area. Hugh McDiarmid of EGLE says that the threat to bats and raptors is too great to approve the Scotia wind farm at this time. Due to the severe loss in population to the Northern Long Eared Bat, as a result of White Nose Syndrome, nearly 90% of the bat’s population has been . . .
  • Stanton Township passes moratorium on wind
    STANTON TOWNSHIP – The Stanton Township Board imposed a nine-month moratorium on construction for a proposed wind turbine project at its meeting Wednesday. Stanton Township Supervisor Marty Rajala said the moratorium would buy time until the township could complete a resident survey gauging their opinion of the Scotia Wind project, which would include 12 575-foot turbines in Adams and Stanton townships near Whealkate Bluff. The board approved sending the survey to every registered voter in the township. “We want to know if . . .
  • Maple Valley Township planners work on wind ordinance with attorney
    MAPLE VALLEY TOWNSHIP – The Maple Valley Township Planning Commission made progress on continuing to update its wind energy ordinance Thursday evening, with the help of an attorney. Chairman Roger Becker, Vice Chairwoman Andi Knapp, Lee Frandsen and new members Ann Scoby Petersen and Dennis Dombroski were all present. Randy Davis recently resigned as a planner, meaning two Planning Commission seats are currently vacant (the other resulting from the death of Carolyn Kelsey). Kyle O’Meara, an attorney with Fahey Schultz Burzych . . .
  • Huron County townships going into further appeals over turbine taxes
    Huron County has already gone through nearly 10 years of fighting with utility companies over their fair share of taxes. That fight will have to continue for a while longer. In June, the tax tribunal ruled that Huron County would have to pay DTE back taxes from 2016 and 2017 at 6% interest, saying that DTE paid its taxes at a higher rate than agreed upon. The ruling only affects Sigel and Bloomfield townships, with the county having to pay . . .
  • Douglass Township Board approves wind moratorium into August 2022
    DOUGLASS TOWNSHIP – The Douglass Township Board on Wednesday, at the recommendation of its Planning Commission, voted 5-0 to extend the township’s wind energy moratorium for a full year – into August 2022. Many of the more than 80 people in attendance applauded the vote. Supervisor Terry Anderson said the board decided to extend the moratorium at the advice of their attorney, Ron Reddick of Mika Meyers, who was present Wednesday. “I told you people before, we’re gonna do a lot of . . .
  • ‘A lot of work to do’
    MONTCALM TOWNSHIP – Nearly a year to the day after planners first brought forth an amendment to this township’s wind energy ordinance, that ordinance will be amended again – this time starting from scratch. During Wednesday’s quarterly meeting of the Montcalm Township Planning Commission, commissioners discussed the ordinance for the first time since March. The township’s current ordinance, originally adopted in 2013, has been deemed inadequate by both supporters and detractors of wind energy turbines, and as a result, the Planning Commission . . .
  • ‘Out in the wind’
    PINE TOWNSHIP – The Pine Township Planning Commission was once again unable to make progress on updating its wind ordinance during a second special meeting Monday evening. The Planning Commission meeting ended just five minutes after it had been called to order after Chairman Steve Millard announced that Planning Commissioner Steve Fisk had submitted his resignation shortly before the meeting. Fisk stayed just along enough for a quick sawmill request on the agenda, then he stood up, said goodbye and walked . . .
  • Scotia Wind Farm permit denied
    Several state and federal agencies are opposed to a wind farm proposed for Adams and Stanton Townships. Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) cited concerns over potential effects on local bat populations as being the main driver in denying a permit to Circle Power. James Mihelcic from the Guardians of the Keweenaw Ridge says the group is preparing for more work ahead. In their application, Circle Power had already talked about possible sites in Gratiot Lake and . . .
  • Turmoil continues over proposed Stanton Twp. windmills
    In its application for a proposed windmill farm, Circle Power was denied by EGLE in Marquette. Citing the project would have “significant adverse effects” to local wildlife and natural resources. Although, Circle Power Vice President of Development Christopher Moore says he disagrees with EGLE. “We’ve done three years of studies to determine what animals are in the area [including] birds, bats, other species that are available,” said Moore. “We think the science will show that it’s a low risk, so . . .
  • ‘There’s gonna be turbines’
    CATO TOWNSHIP – A short and otherwise unremarkable Cato Township Board meeting ended in a bit of an uproar Monday evening after the supervisor made an unexpected declaration. As the meeting was drawing to an end after about 15 minutes of regular business, a man in the audience of more than 30 people asked, “Where do we stand on this wind turbine stuff?” The Cato Township Planning Commission has been working on updating its wind energy ordinance, with its next special . . .
  • Montcalm County sheriff clarifies wind support comment
    STANTON – The Montcalm County sheriff has clarified that his office is neutral on the subject of wind energy. During the July 26 budget talks meeting of the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners, Chairman Patrick Q. Carr of Lakeview spoke in support of Apex Clean Energy’s proposed wind turbine project for Montcalm County. In response to Carr’s comments, Undersheriff Andy Doezema spoke up during public comment to say, “Also, we support wind.” This comment did not go over well with the . . .
  • EGLE denies permit for wind turbine project
    HOUGHTON – Permits for the proposed wind turbine project in Adams and Stanton townships have been denied by the state over concerns of harm to wildlife, including bat and eagle populations, and wetlands. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) Water Resources Division (WRD) determined the Scotia Wind project did not benefit the public enough to outweigh potential impact to wildlife and wetlands at the site. “Due to the applicant’s lack of a feasible and prudent alternative analysis . . .
  • ‘Back to square one’
    DOUGLASS TOWNSHIP – The Douglass Township Planning Commission is hoping for another year to work on the challenge of creating a fair wind energy ordinance. Well over 100 people attended Wednesday’s three-hour-plus Douglass Township Planning Commission meeting, where a proposed “Citizens Ordinance” on wind energy was tabled until late October and the Planning Commission voted to recommend the township board extend a wind energy moratorium until August 2022. – DN Photo | Elisabeth Waldon More than 100 people packed Douglass Township Hall . . .
  • Montcalm County board chairman encourages wind project support
    STANTON – Up until now, the chairman of the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners has held back from publicly voicing his opinion regarding a wind turbine project proposed for the county. During Monday’s county board budget workshop meeting, Patrick Q. Carr decided to speak up. Carr, a Lakeview-area farmer and the fire chief of the Lakeview District Fire Department, has signed a lease with Apex Clean Energy, a Virginia-based wind energy developer which has proposed a 75-turbine project for an estimated . . .
  • Speaker gives tips for anti-wind zoning
    SOUTH RANGE – More than 100 people turned out Thursday night to listen to a zoning administrator lay out the best legal steps for stopping wind development in the area. Kevon Martis, zoning administrator for Deerfield Township in Lenawee County and an activist against large-scale wind and solar projects, addressed a crowd at the South Range Elementary School. After a half-hour presentation, Martis took questions from audience members, who were largely Adams and Stanton Township residents seeking to stop a proposed . . .
  • Rep. Outman working on wind turbine depreciation dispute
    PINE TOWNSHIP – As Montcalm County townships decide how to write wind energy zoning ordinances, a local state representative is working on legislation to address wind turbine depreciation disputes in neighboring counties. Rep. Pat Outman, R-Six Lakes, attended the July 19 meeting of the Pine Township Planning Commission where that township is just beginning to work on updating its wind ordinance. “You’ve probably been to a lot of these meetings,” Planning Commission Chairman Scott Millard said to Outman in the audience. . . .
  • Conflict of interest concerns and wind
    The topic of concern; Winfield Township officials. Below is the Winfield Township ethical standards: “All elected and appointed officials, employees and volunteers shall fulfill their duties with the utmost attention to serving the best interests of the township citizens, and no official, employee or volunteer shall participate in a decision or transaction on behalf of the township that would result in a direct financial benefit to the township official, employee, or volunteer. “Any official, employee or volunteer who believes that . . .
  • Winfield Township officials hear feedback on wind ordinance, conflict of interest
    WINFIELD TOWNSHIP – To absolutely no one’s surprise, wind energy was a major topic at a three-hour solar energy ordinance meeting and public hearing hosted by Winfield Township officials last Saturday afternoon. Tricia Korhorn of Winfield Township brought up the topic of wind during public comment by noting that Winfield Township Supervisor Phyllis Larson had previously said that the township wouldn’t begin working on a wind ordinance until they had an opportunity to hear from residents. The Planning Commission has been . . .
  • Respect each other’s views on wind
    The proposed wind energy system project in Montcalm County carries strong opinions both for and against them. One of the opinions from turbine supporters is that turbine opponents do not use facts or science to back up their concerns. It is my observation that turbine opponents are providing credible sources at township meetings, including a mix of scientific studies, firsthand accounts from people living near wind turbines, and personal observation. They are clearly stating and citing studies, sharing copies of . . .
  • Eureka Township awaiting wind ordinance recommendations
    EUREKA TOWNSHIP – As officials come close to updating this township’s 200-plus page zoning ordinance, one element of that ordinance continues to be discussed and reviewed – wind energy. The Eureka Township Planning Commission has spent more than a year working to update “Ordinance 79” – a 251-page document containing all of the township’s zoning laws. However, the section on wind energy is being given additional focus following concerns brought forward from members of the public. During Wednesday’s meeting, Planning Commission Chairman Duane . . .
  • Gratiot County couple shares wind turbine story with Cato Township
    CATO TOWNSHIP – As the Cato Township Planning Commission continues to work on amending its wind energy ordinance, a Gratiot County farming couple attended a July 14 meeting to share their experience. Dan and Nancy Welke live in Merrill, Lafayette Township, where they say they have one turbine less than 1,600 feet from their home and another one about 2,600 feet away. They say they have been “battling” with DTE Energy and Gratiot County officials for the last year and a . . .
  • Apex Clean Energy rep says proposed wind farm won’t be operational until at least 2024
    BELVIDERE TOWNSHIP – A wind farm project proposed for Montcalm County wouldn’t be operational until at least 2024 in a best case scenario. That’s according to Apex Clean Energy Public Engagement Manager Brian O’Shea who gave a presentation about Apex’s proposed Montcalm Wind project to the Belvidere Township Board on July 14. About 30 people were also in attendance in the audience. “We haven’t decided to bring our full presentation to Belvidere Township until now,” O’Shea noted. “We’re looking at land . . .