Lawsuit: Michigan townships seek to block wind power


Share
Posted Online: April 09, 2013, 10:47 pm
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story

DALLAS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) A Chicago company planning to build 39 wind towers in rural central Michigan has sued three communities it says want to block the $120 million renewable energy project.

Forest Hill Energy-Fowler Farms LLC sued Dallas, Essex and Bengal townships on Monday in Clinton County Circuit Court in St. Johns. The lawsuit alleges that the townships collaborated to adopt rules effectively blocking the project.

A pre-existing county ordinance already had 'many exacting requirements,' the lawsuit said. They include rules that permit towers no more than 450 feet tall, allow up to 45 decibels of noise as measured from an off-site home and require that towers be at least 1,600 feet or four times the tower's height from any home.

The Bengal Township ordinance went further and rendered the project unviable, the lawsuit said. That ordinance caps the height at 400 feet, noise at 40 decibels at the nearest property line and a setback of 1,600 feet or four times the tower's height from any property line.

'The townships effectively enacted ordinances outright prohibiting wind turbines,' the lawsuit said.

Forest Hill Energy has spent more than $1 million in crafting a project to meet county zoning, according to the suit.

William Fahey, an attorney for Dallas and Essex townships, said the Michigan Legislature has granted townships broad powers to regulate conduct for the public health, safety and general welfare.

'Our constitution says the powers of townships shall be liberally construed,' Fahey told the Lansing State Journal. 'Unless there is some specific statute out there that takes these powers away, the townships continue to have the powers and can exercise them.'

Fahey said Clinton County's zoning ordinance permits townships to exercise their zoning authority over wind towers.

The Clinton County Board of Commissioners voted 5-2 on Jan. 29 to grant a special land-use permit to Forest Hill Energy for the project, which has been a matter of public debate since 2008.














 



Local events heading








  Today is Wednesday, Aug. 20, the 232nd day of 2014. There are 133 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Quite a number of Negroes have lately been brought here by abolition offers returning from the army in violation of the laws of the state.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Miss Tillie Denkmann, of Rock Island, was making plans to accompany a Davenport family on a tour of Europe.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The German advance into Belgium was going apparently without serious check. The American ambassador at Berlin published a denial of the charge that Americans had been ill-treated in Germany.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Seventy-two members of Rock Island High School's 1939 graduating class are preparing to enter college — 34 of them at Augustana.
1964 -- 50 years ago: One of the oldest buildings in Milan, which for a number of years has housed the Milan Hotel, will be razed to make way for a modern, two-story office structure.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Some are blaming it on the sudden influx of insects and the extreme humidity. Still others say the invasion was inspired by a recent movie. But whatever the reason, the Quad-Cities is swarming with bats.




(More History)