Hearing set on Escanaba wind energy ordinance

ESCANABA — Residents that want to weigh in on wind energy creation within the city of Escanaba will be able to do so April 4, when the city holds a public hearing on a newly drafted wind energy ordinance.

“I want to note the planning commission has spent significant time on this, and they are recommending that we adopt this ordinance,” Mayor Marc Tall said at Thursday’s regular council meeting.

The ordinance would set the rules for noise and shadow flicker from wind energy creation systems, as well as set the setbacks and height limits for various styles of windmills and wind turbines, establish site plan requirements, and require all applicants seeking to construct wind energy systems to submit a decommissioning plan for when the system has reached the end of its usable life.

While it is possible wind-energy generating companies would seek to place windmills in the city, the Escanaba Planning Commission undertook writing the ordinance as a preemptive measure. The wind turbines in Garden and Fairbanks townships have been a point of contention for residents of those communities since the Garden Wind Farm first became operational in September of 2012. These issues prompted multiple recalls of township officials, as well as a lawsuit, and led Delta County to develop its own wind turbine ordinance. The planning commission hoped to avoid many of these issues by having something in place before developers approached the city.

Also during Thursday’s regular meeting, the council:

-Approved a resolution allowing an application for conveyance of the Great Lakes bottom lands near the current Delta County Jail site from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. The council believes this will make the property more valuable and make it easier to attract developers to the site.

– Held the third public hearing on the city’s 2019-2020 fiscal year budget. Five public hearings will be held in total.

– Approved sanitation, concession, and fireworks bids for the city recreation department. Sanitation for city events will be handled by Stenberg Brothers, Inc. of Bark River, concessions at the municipal marina and beach will be handled by Sticky Fingers Confections, and the Independence Day and New Years Eve fireworks displays will be put on by Great Lakes Fireworks of West Branch, Mich.

– Approved the placement of no parking signs on the south side of 3rd Avenue South from South 22nd Street to the entrance of the Holy Name school parking lot.

– Approved a series of street and sidewalk closures downtown for local events including “Bike & Classic Car Nights,” the Annual Fun Run Parade, a car show fundraiser, and a fundraiser in support of the Wheelin’ Sportsmen.

– Heard a proclamation for National Service Recognition Day honoring local AmeriCorps volunteers.

– Delegated the authority to City Manager Patrick Jordan head the search for an assistant city assessor and return to the council for approval of the candidate at the end of the search.

– Directed Jordan to negotiate the possible sale of a 1.97 acre lot located at 3801 19th Avenue North.


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