• Pine Township officials place moratorium on wind permits as they prepare to send out wind survey to residents
    PINE TOWNSHIP – The crack of guns on the shooting range could be heard on the Flat River Conservation Club property Monday evening. Meanwhile, inside the clubhouse, questions and comments were flying nearly as fast and furious as the bullets. The Pine Township Planning Commission met at 5 p.m. drawing a passionate audience of more than 50 people, followed by the Pine Township Board meeting at 7 p.m., which saw only slightly less attendance. By the end of four-hour-plus meetings, both . . .
  • Focusing zoning on health, safety, welfare
    PINE TOWNSHIP – The Pine Township Board has repeatedly declined residents’ requests to allow Kevon Martis to present concerns and recommendations about the township’s wind ordinance. So residents took matters into their own hands. The Pine Township Coalition for Safe Energy and Martis hosted a presentation Thursday evening via Zoom which saw more than 160 people participating. Interest in wind energy is high locally as Apex Clean Energy has proposed a 75-turbine wind farm for Montcalm County. Martis is the zoning . . .
  • Planners approve Deerfield 2 site plan
    The Huron County Planning Commission has approved a site plan review for the next phase of the Deerfield Wind Energy farm as some of the project takes place on county-zoned land. The approval is subject to the Huron County Board of Commissioners approving the decommissioning security from the wind farm’s owners. While the turbines for the project will be in Huron Township, which is a self-zoned township, an expansion to an existing electrical substation, underground collection lines, transmission lines, and . . .
  • Winfield Township officials are taking their time with wind turbine ordinance
    WINFIELD TOWNSHIP – Wind turbines weren’t on the agenda but they were the main topic of public comment during Thursday morning’s Winfield Township Board meeting. Only seven people were present in the audience, including the township’s zoning administrator and this reporter. Of the remaining five people, only two were from Winfield Township. The meeting took place in the morning, which is the township board’s tradition during winter and early spring months, but the board will resume meeting at 7 p.m. on . . .
  • Douglass Township Board repeals wind ordinance, also votes to stop paying for Zoom meetings
    DOUGLASS TOWNSHIP – The Douglass Township Board on Wednesday evening unanimously voted to repeal its controversial wind ordinance and also to stop paying for hosting Zoom meetings. For the next hour and a half, the township board then heard public comments from people concerned about the wind ordinance as well as the upcoming lack of Zoom meetings. About 40 people attended the meeting in person with another 25 people on Zoom. The Zoom feed was plagued with problems throughout the night – . . .
  • Sidney Twp. Planning Commission to hold special meetings to discuss, refine proposed wind and solar ordinances
    SIDNEY TOWNSHIP – If all goes as planned, this township will have new wind and solar ordinances pertaining to commercial energy projects adopted into its zoning laws come summer. During Monday’s meeting of the Sidney Township Board, Trustee Ray Leyrer, who is also a member of the Planning Commission, said the commission is prepared to have additional discussion, hold a public hearing and potentially vote on a recommendation of approval to the township board regarding the ordinances. Leyrer said the Planning . . .
  • Maple Valley Township Planning Commission hosts unruly wind energy meeting
    MAPLE VALLEY TOWNSHIP – After hosting a stormy wind meeting in February via Zoom, followed by a vote to repeal the township’s controversial wind ordinance in March via Zoom, Maple Valley Township officials met for an in-person – but no less turbulent – meeting Thursday evening. Three dozen people attended an unruly 90-minute meeting inside the freezing Coral Community Center (“We went over to Gratiot County and stood right underneath a turbine and this (Community Center) furnace was louder than that turbine,” Planning . . .
  • Wind turbines don’t belong near homes
    This is in response to Don Smucker’s Guest View from the March 20 issue of the Daily News. His opinion piece included a variety of claims and accusations – all of which had no supporting documentation or sources.  We are calling out a few specific quotes from that article, with some supporting links as well. Additional facts and testimonials regarding wind turbines can also be found on the Montcalm County Citizens United Facebook page. 1. Mr. Smucker wrote: “The townships and . . .
  • Stand up for a rural way of life
    If Michigan residents support wind turbines, why have wind companies lost 24 out of 24 times when wind-friendly ordinances have been brought to a referendum? If townships are “enjoying a new and substantial source of tax revenue,” why are they having to fight for those revenues? Montcalm County residents are not “raising Cain,” as Don Smucker stated in his March 21 Guest View in the Daily News. Apex initiated township ordinance amendments to allow taller turbines closer to our homes. . . .
  • Douglass Township Planning Commission asks township board to repeal wind ordinance
    DOUGLASS TOWNSHIP – The Douglass Township Planning Commission on Wednesday unanimously voted to recommend the Douglass Township Board repeal its recently approved wind energy ordinance. If the township board votes to repeal at its meeting April 7, it would render moot a planned voter referendum on the ordinance later this year. Township officials could then begin working on a new ordinance to regulate wind turbines in light of Apex Clean Energy’s efforts to create a wind farm in multiple Montcalm County . . .
  • Bloomer Township Board continues to work on wind
    BLOOMER TOWNSHIP – This township’s wind ordinance has not yet been set in stone, but board members are assuring the community that they’re taking many factors into consideration before moving forward. The township’s Planning Commission held a public hearing in August 2020 regarding proposed solar and wind ordinance amendments and then recommended the township board approve it. In January, the township board voted to table the matter until checking with the township’s attorney on a few details. During February’s virtual meeting, . . .
  • Beware of more wind turbines
    The Huron County master plan was adopted last week by the board of commissioners, our elected officials, with one very significant change. Page 105 of the Sept. 3, 2020 draft as recommended by the county planning commission, stated, in part: “The first utility-scale wind energy facility constructed with the approval of the Huron County planning commission was in 2008. … As each new wind turbine was constructed, the landscape of Huron County had seemingly changed. With this change came a . . .
  • David Coulter hiring chief sustainability officer to lead county’s green energy agenda
    According to county documents, the officer will also work to foster a culture of sustainability through county communications and education and make around $130,000 per year in base salary, not including benefits. Current and future year position funding will be offset by the deletion of the deputy director of economic development position.
  • Belvidere Township Board hears from public on wind ordinance
    BELVIDERE TOWNSHIP – Public comment was unusual during Wednesday’s Belvidere Township Board meeting in that it only took place after the meeting had adjourned. Two dozen people were present via Zoom, but when the township board offered public comment, no one spoke. The township board’s audio was muffled and difficult to hear, and township board members did not appear to be monitoring Zoom to see any raised hands. After the 18-minute meeting had adjourned, people unmuted themselves on Zoom to ask . . .
  • Pine Township Board offers wind turbine specialist, but residents aren’t impressed
    PINE TOWNSHIP – Despite repeated requests from residents, the Pine Township Board on Monday declined to take any action on placing a temporary moratorium on wind permits, on saying whether they would be updating the township’s wind ordinance or on allowing a spokesperson with turbine concerns to be scheduled to speak at a future meeting. Instead, Supervisor Bill Drews promoted a township-sponsored event set for 7 p.m. on March 30 featuring Sarah Mills, who earned her doctorate in urban and regional . . .
  • Belvidere Township Board hears from public on wind ordinance
    BELVIDERE TOWNSHIP – Public comment was unusual during Wednesday’s Belvidere Township Board meeting in that it only took place after the meeting had adjourned. Two dozen people were present via Zoom, but when the township board offered public comment, no one spoke. The township board’s audio was muffled and difficult to hear, and township board members did not appear to be monitoring Zoom to see any raised hands. After the 18-minute meeting had adjourned, people unmuted themselves on Zoom to ask . . .
  • Montcalm Township planners reevaluating wind ordinance amendment
    MONTCALM TOWNSHIP – Planners in this township are prepared to go back to the drawing board following public outcry over its wind ordinance. During the March 3 virtual meeting of the Montcalm Township Planning Commission – its first meeting since August 2020 – members concluded that neither the township’s current wind energy ordinance (adopted in 2013) nor a proposed amendment drafted by the Commission last August, are strong enough to protect township residents and property owners. Chairman Richard Karnatz said several items specifically . . .
  • Wind energy moratorium request fails in Montcalm Township
    MONTCALM TOWNSHIP – An effort to establish a temporary moratorium against any wind turbine projects in this township failed to gain any steam Wednesday. During the monthly meeting of the Montcalm Township Board held via Zoom, Trustee Brian Cousineau was given the floor by Supervisor Doug Crowley to speak on the subject of a moratorium on wind energy projects. Cousineau said he felt compelled to speak on the issue based on concerns brought forth by residents at previous township and Planning . . .
  • Maple Valley Township Board rescinds controversial wind ordinance
    MAPLE VALLEY TOWNSHIP —The Maple Valley Township Board is backpedaling on a controversial wind ordinance. The township board voted 4-0 on Monday night to rescind Ordinance 24, which it had approved last November; to rescind approval of a ballot question on the ordinance (making a planned voter referendum on the ordinance later this year now unnecessary); and to place a six-month moratorium on any wind activity in the township. Supervisor John Schwandt, Clerk Shirley Sanders, Treasurer June Miller and Trustee . . .
  • Sidney Township planners finish proposed wind ordinance
    SIDNEY TOWNSHIP – As the ongoing conversation around an upcoming wind ordinance continues in Sidney Township, the Planning Commission is getting ready to make a draft version of the ordinance available to the public. The Planning Commission met on Wednesday night to continue discussing the topic of wind and what the next steps of adopting an ordinance for the township may look like. According to Planning Commission Secretary Jeff Lodholtz, a draft version of the ordinance is now complete. “I’ve got . . .
  • Millions at stake in wind turbine tax litigation
    The installation of wind farms over the past several years has provided an economic boost to many Michigan counties. However, millions of dollars could be at stake due to changes made during that time by the State Tax Commission regarding the formula used by communities for taxing turbines. Gratiot County now has five wind farms that include a total of 345 turbines. The first was completed in 2012 and since then wind energy has resulted in bringing in $49 million . . .
  • Planner offers experience with wind ordinances
    My name is William Courliss, and I live in Sherwood Township, Branch County, Michigan. I just heard on the news concerning the possibility of wind turbines coming into Sidney Township. I recently read a Daily News article where Erik Benko is objecting to the intrusion of these turbines. Further, Township Trustee Jed Welder does have a legal conflict of interest, and needs to be very careful concerning his comments. He needs to listen to and obey any legal advice given . . .
  • Sidney Township planners finish proposed wind ordinance
    As the ongoing conversation around an upcoming wind ordinance continues in Sidney Township, the Planning Commission is getting ready to make a draft version of the ordinance available to the public. The Planning Commission met on Wednesday night to continue discussing the topic of wind and what the next steps of adopting an ordinance for the township may look like. According to Planning Commission Secretary Jeff Lodholtz, a draft version of the ordinance is now complete. “I’ve got the wind . . .
  • Montcalm Township planner, lawyer say no conflict of interest ‘at this time’
    MONTCALM TOWNSHIP – Meeting with his fellow planning commissioners for the first time in seven months, Richard Karnatz wasted little time addressing concerns and allegations of some township residents. As the chairman of the Montcalm Township Planning Commission, Karnatz began Wednesday’s virtual meeting by issuing a statement focused on allegations that he has a conflict of interest regarding the Planning Commission’s effort to amend the township’s wind energy ordinance and should, in turn, recuse himself from certain discussions and votes on . . .
  • Planners hear from Deerfield Wind Energy 2 developers
    The Huron County Planning Commission got to hear from the group looking to build more wind turbines in Huron Township at its meeting this week. Members of Algonquin Power, the owners of the Deerfield Wind Farm across Huron, Dwight, Bloomfield, and Lincoln townships, made a presentation for the next phase of the project similar to one made to the Huron Township planners a few months ago. The company is requesting approval for the site plan review. Roberto Caputo of Algonquin . . .
  • Sidney Township Board trustee faces calls to resign
    SIDNEY TOWNSHIP – As repeated calls were made during Monday evening’s Sidney Township Board meeting for Trustee Jed Welder to resign, the farmer remained outwardly tranquil while sipping from a mug sporting the slogan, “Keep calm and carry on.” About 65 people were in attendance via Zoom for the meeting which had only been underway for a few minutes when Trustee Ray Leyrer announced, “I wanted to talk about last month’s meeting.” Leyrer was referring to the township board’s February meeting . . .
  • 75 windmills could dot Montcalm County by 2024
    For Lakeview resident Tammy Resseguire, there have been too many questions but not enough answers on the impact of the 75 wind turbines proposed for portions of Montcalm County. “I wish people would get more active with their township. They need to go to their planning commission and find out what’s going on,” Resseguie said. But for Montcalm Township farmer Del Christensen, a tower on his land would supplement his income. “Is it good? Is it bad? You know, the . . .
  • Douglass Township to hold March 24 public hearing on repealing wind ordinance
    DOUGLASS TOWNSHIP – The same week Apex Clean Energy hosted a community meeting touting the benefits of wind turbine energy, a local township began the process of repealing its own controversial wind ordinance. The Douglass Township Planning Commission unanimously voted Wednesday evening to host a March 24 public hearing on the topic of repealing its recently approved wind ordinance. After that public hearing, the Planning Commission will vote on whether to recommend the township board repeal the ordinance. If the township . . .
  • Apex hosts community meeting on proposed wind farm project
    Apex Clean Energy officials hosted their first community meeting Tuesday evening and they used the occasion to explain why they are now addressing the entire county despite doing wind farm studies for the past three years or more. “We’re really starting to ramp up our engagement,” Senior Development Manager Albert Jongewaard explained. “A lot of our early work is not necessarily something that we shout from the rooftops. We have been in the community for a couple of years but . . .
  • Pierson Township Board creates wind energy zone for commercial wind turbines east of Federal Road
    PIERSON TOWNSHIP – The Pierson Township Board has amended its zoning ordinance for the second time in three months regarding wind turbines. Board members voted 4-1 on Feb. 16 to amend their zoning ordinance to establish a wind energy zone to allow commercial wind tower construction on six and a half sections east of Federal Road (old 131), which is mostly agricultural land. Supervisor Dan Buyze, Clerk Sara Burkholder and trustees Jason Bergman and Bill Grice all voted “yes” while Treasurer . . .
  • Court of Appeals reverses portions of decision in solar company’s dispute with township
    CHARLOTTE – The state’s Court of Appeals has issued an opinion reversing portions of an Eaton County judge’s decision a year after his dismissal of a Minnesota-based solar and wind energy company’s lawsuit arguing an interim zoning ordinance adopted by Benton Township wasn’t valid. Sandstone Creek Solar, LLC, a subsidiary of National Grid Renewables, formerly Geronimo Energy, filed the appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals in February 2020, according to court documents. It came after Circuit Court Judge John . . .
  • At odds with each other
    During the Nov. 9, 2020, Sidney Township Board meeting at Sidney Park, Albert Jongewaard told residents Apex Clean Energy had been working in Montcalm County for two years. If Apex is offering an amazing, favorable project for the residents of our county, where were their flyers in 2018, 2019 and 2020? Where were their radio interviews and newspaper ads then? Why didn’t they introduce themselves publicly to everyone, so we could all learn about Apex and their extraordinary wind turbines? . . .
  • Cato Township officials to review wind zoning rules
    CATO TOWNSHIP – The Cato Township Planning Commission hosted its first-ever Zoom meeting Wednesday evening, and despite the focus being the contentious topic of wind turbines, Chairman Phil Morrow and his colleagues helped set a tone of civility which carried throughout the meeting. “We want to communicate with each other tonight with dignity and respect,” Morrow told the nearly 70 people participating via Zoom. “This is not a Q and A tonight, this is public comment, it means you’re giving us . . .
  • Crystal Township Board touches on wind energy
    CRYSTAL TOWNSHIP – As multiple townships in Montcalm County are in various stages of either creating or updating their wind ordinances, Crystal Township is left wondering if they should follow suit. The topic came up toward the end of last week’s township board meeting when Clerk Patty Baker-Marek questioned if the township should start looking into the matter. “Obviously, everyone has seen the paper (the Daily News) blowing up about the turbine ordinances that all the townships are involved in,” she . . .
  • MI Appeals Court Concluded Interim Zoning Ordinance is Valid and Not Subject to Referendum, and Dismissed Lawsuit by Solar Developer
    Olena Botshteyn, Esq. | Law of the Land | An interim zoning ordinance put in place by the Township of Benton blocked the construction of a large-scale solar array, proposed by the Sandstone Creek Solar, LLC (“Sandstone”). In 2016, Sandstone, a solar development company, decided to implement its plan to construct a solar facility in the Township of Benton (“the Town”), located in Eaton County (“the County”), Michigan. With this purpose, Sandstone started acquiring property interests in 850 acres of . . .
  • Douglass Township Board approves 6-month wind moratorium in split vote
    DOUGLASS TOWNSHIP – The Douglass Township Board split 3-2 on Wednesday evening in approving a motion to place a six-month moratorium on wind energy action in yet another uncivilized meeting. Immediately after the vote, Supervisor Terry Anderson didn’t hold back in sharing what the past few months have been like for him and his colleagues in dealing with the fallout of a township wind ordinance approved late last year. “Obviously we did not have enough information,” Anderson admitted to the audience . . .
  • Montcalm Township attorney asked to review alleged conflict of interest regarding wind ordinance
    MONTCALM TOWNSHIP – This township has asked its attorney to look into allegations that its Planning Commission chairman may have a conflict of interest regarding efforts to amend the township’s wind energy ordinance. During Wednesday evening’s meeting of the Montcalm Township Board, held via Zoom, while the subject of amending the township’s zoning ordinances regarding wind energy and wind turbines was not on the agenda, it came forward during public comment. Township Supervisor Doug Crowley said during January’s meeting the issue . . .
  • Pine Township supervisor says wind moratorium is not an option
    PINE TOWNSHIP – The Pine Township Board heard nearly an hour of public comment at Monday’s meeting focused on the township’s need for an updated wind energy ordinance. Audience members also repeatedly asked the township board to place a moratorium on any township wind activity, but Supervisor Bill Drews said this isn’t an option, according to the Michigan Townships Association. “A moratorium in Michigan is not really something that can happen,” he said. “We can put a pause on accepting any . . .
  • Maple Valley Township Board hosts stormy wind ordinance meeting
    MAPLE VALLEY TOWNSHIP – The Maple Valley Township Board’s first-ever Zoom meeting attracted more than 70 participants, ran nearly three hours long and was heavily focused on audience concerns over the township’s new wind energy ordinance – which is the process of going to a voter referendum. Monday evening’s meeting also featured repeated “back door” accusations against township officials – a concern which wasn’t helped when the board voted 3-0 to appoint Ben Newell as a new township board member to succeed Joe . . .
  • Wind turbine project pending for Algansee Township
    Algansee Township Planning Commission has not met since November, due to COVID-19 restrictions. Zoning administrator Matt Ashenfelter told the township board Monday the commission must meet soon to deal with an application to construct two large wind turbines at 644 S. Fremont Road. The towers are not the 300-foot-plus commercial megawatt turbines that have drawn objections in other parts of the county. These at 118-foot towers with base that would produce 150 kilowatts each. The maximum height is to the . . .
  • Supervisor: Apex Clean Energy not looking at Evergreen Township for wind turbines
    EVERGREEN TOWNSHIP – The Evergreen Township Board is declining to take action on creating a wind ordinance after the supervisor said Apex Clean Energy isn’t considering the township for a planned wind turbine farm. The township board held its first-ever Zoom meeting Tuesday evening, but most meeting attendees showed up at the township hall to participate in person. “I’m assuming that’s what most people are here for, the wind turbines,” observed Supervisor Andy Ross as public comment got underway at the . . .
  • Pine Township Planning Commission hosts lengthy wind meeting
    PINE TOWNSHIP – Pine Township’s current wind energy ordinance and whether it should be updated was the focus of a special three-hour Planning Commission meeting Tuesday evening which attracted up to 85 participants via Zoom. Pine Township has a wind zoning ordinance dating back to 2011/2012 with some updates made in 2016. Township officials held Tuesday’s informational meeting to determine whether to make future updates to that ordinance in response to Apex Clean Energy’s proposed plan for Montcalm County. Apex officials . . .
  • Sidney Township Board approves wind permit moratorium amid chaotic meeting
    SIDNEY TOWNSHIP – In their first-ever Zoom meeting, which was plagued with audio and internet issues, the Sidney Township Board voted to place a six-month moratorium on issuing wind permits. More than 70 people virtually participated in Monday evening’s meeting, which was the board’s first meeting since November 2020 after they didn’t meet in December or January due to the coronavirus pandemic. Along with echoing, distorted and ringing audio throughout the meeting and the entire township board being kicked off Zoom . . .
  • People weigh in on proposed wind farm in Leroy Twp
    Several people weighed in on a proposed wind farm in Leroy Township during Tuesday night’s in-person Board of Trustees meeting. Apex Clean Energy is tentatively looking to build 60 wind turbines. The company is currently evaluating land in five different townships including Ingham, Leroy, Stockbridge, Wheatfield, and White Oak. Back in November, the Leroy Township Board sent letters to property owners about the proposed project and received an overwhelming response. “We’ve got a little over 300 responses to the letter . . .
  • Douglass Township Planning Commission hosts contentious wind meeting
    DOUGLASS TOWNSHIP – For the second time in two weeks, Douglass Township officials hosted a heated meeting centered on the township’s wind ordinance. More than 70 people attended Wednesday evening’s Planning Commission meeting, mostly via Zoom. The meeting immediately got off to a contentious start when Planning Commission chairman nominations were being accepted for the new year. Two nominations were offered – one for Jack Jeppesen (who was chairman last year) and one for Todd Wells. Doug Poulsen, a Douglass Township Board . . .
  • Bloomer Township Board tables wind/solar ordinance vote
    BLOOMER TOWNSHIP – The Bloomer Township Board was set to vote on a wind energy ordinance Monday as recommended by its Planning Commission, but they voted instead to table it for another month. The Township Board met for its regular monthly meeting via Zoom. Besides township officials and the Daily News, no other audience members were present. The township’s Planning Commission previously held a public hearing in August 2020 regarding solar and wind energy zoning ordinance amendments, which was then recommended . . .
  • Montcalm Township public hearing on wind ordinance won’t occur until August
    MONTCALM TOWNSHIP – A wind energy ordinance public hearing for Montcalm Township residents will now not take place until August. The Montcalm Township Planning Commission drafted a proposed ordinance in August 2020, but has yet to solidify it with a public hearing and potential recommendation to the township board. The Planning Commission was last scheduled to hold a public hearing on the proposed ordinance on Dec. 2, but that meeting was canceled due to coronavirus restrictions. Additionally, the regular monthly township . . .
  • Heated rhetoric blows about wind ordinance at Douglass Twp. meeting
    DOUGLASS TOWNSHIP – The first-ever Zoom meeting of the Douglass Township Board saw 86 people participating remotely Wednesday evening, many of them voicing concerns about the township’s new wind turbine ordinance. The ordinance – which was approved by the township board on Nov. 4, 2020, after the Planning Commission hosted a public hearing on Oct. 30, 2020 – is now in the process of going to a voter referendum as soon as May. According to Township Clerk Ronda Snyder, 35 pages of petitions . . .
  • Wind turbine catches fire in Chandler Township
    CHANDLER TOWNSHIP – A wind turbine in Chandler Township caught fire in the early Christmas morning hours, damaging its powerhead and one of its blades. The turbine is part of the Harvest II Wind Project owned by Exelon Generation, the second part of a wind farm whose first phase began operations in 2008. Harvest II’s second phase started operating in 2012. Turbine #7 is located south of Crown Road and east of Gagetown Road. Jeff Smith, the Huron County building and . . .
  • Winfield Township residents voice concerns about wind project
    WINFIELD TOWNSHIP – A three-hour joint meeting of the Winfield Township Board and the Winfield Township Planning Commission on Monday evening included a good hour and a half of public comment on the subject of a pending wind energy facility ordinance. About 40 people attended the meeting, which was held via Zoom. (See accompanying story about legal advice provided by township-hired attorney Bill Fahey at the meeting.) Courtney Fisk of Winfield Township, an attorney herself, immediately clashed with Kyle O’Meara, the . . .