Wind energy regulations get approval
ESCANABA — An ordinance detailing wind energy guidelines within the city was adopted by the Escanaba City Council Thursday.
“As I understand it, the planning commission has spent countless hours working on this proposed ordinance,” Mayor Marc Tall said.
The ordinance will set rules for noise and shadow flicker from wind energy creation systems, as well as outline 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 the equipment.
Kris Williams, vice-chair of the Escanaba Planning Commission, explained she looked at many different wind ordinances from all over the United States and the Great Lakes region while developing the ordinance.
“It was developed, given to the city of Escanaba Planning Commission, which they reviewed over a number of meetings and eventually approved,” she said. “There was also community input. We had a public hearing, of course, and the community came forward and said, ‘we would like to see these adjustments.’ We made those adjustments in this ordinance and then passed the ordinance through the city planning commission.”
Council member Peggy Schumann said she attended some of the meetings and thought the process was well done.
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 some 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.
After no public comment during the public hearing, the ordinance was adopted.
In other business, the council:
– Held a public hearing on the Community Development Block Grant application for 1601 Ludington St. Council approved a resolution in support of the application.
– Approved the bid received for the Municipal Marina Replacement Dock. The bid from Flotation Docking Systems, Inc., of Cedarville was $373,421.
– Approved a bid from Irby of Mount Pleasant for 17 ductile iron poles at $41,667. These poles will be installed in Breezy Point area as part of replacing the existing underground circuit that has had some failures in recent years.
– Approved the use of Ludington Park and Ludington Street on May 31 from 6 to 8 p.m. for the annual Krusin Klassics Fun Run.
– Mayor Marc Tall appointed Pat Baribeau to the Downtown Development Authority board. He said she will make a fine addition, especially with her experience with grant writing.
– Heard a public comment from Kelli VanGinhoven, the owner of For the Love of Cupcakes. She questioned why her applications for a seat on the DDA have been denied as she has not been given a reason for the denial and there is still an open spot, with another opening up soon.
– Heard a public comment from Sue Roll, the executive director of the Bonifas Art Center. She thanked the council for its continued support.