Mich. appeals court knocks down towns’ turbine ban 

Source: Steven Reed, Lansing State Journa • Posted: Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Three Michigan townships called a special joint meeting set for Thursday night to consider how to continue their two-year blockade of a proposed 39-turbine project after the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld a lower-court ruling invalidating their restrictive ordinances.

The three-judge panel ruled that Clinton County’s zoning ordinance passed in 2011 trumped Dallas, Essex and Bengal townships’ police-power ordinances restricting height, setback, noise or other elements of the wind farm. The judges said the townships could have passed zoning ordinances but chose not to.

Forest Hill Energy lawyer Jon Bylsma was “very pleased” the court found the case was “not something local townships that rejected the opportunity to zone can now jump in on and try to prevent.”

Townships attorney Bill Fahey said Thursday’s meeting will likely center on whether to appeal the ruling before the 42-day deadline, pass other local ordinances or drop their opposition.

“We are all disappointed with the ruling,” said Ken Wieber, a Clinton County farmer. “We would encourage the townships to pursue whatever legal avenues are left to protect the health of their citizens, especially considering recent rulings from Wisconsin.”

Wieber was referencing the Oct. 14 unanimous declaration of the Green Bay-based Brown County Board of Health that a Duke Energy Renewables wind farm was “a human health hazard for all people (residents, workers, visitors and sensitive passersby) who are exposed to infrasound/low-frequency noise and other emissions potentially harmful to human health” (Steven Reed, Lansing State Journal, Dec. 8).