Petitions submitted for Seneca wind energy referendum 2012.04.25

Written by David Green.

Seneca Township voters are expected to have their say on the wind energy facility ordinance approved by township board members March 12. If referendum petitions are certified by the township clerk, the vote will be part of the August primary ballot.

Ron and Lori Glisson turned petitions  in April 18, collecting about three times more than the minimum needed.

Township clerk Allison Ott said the minimum number of valid signatures required is equal to 15 percent of the township votes cast in the last election for the state governor. For Seneca Township that equated to 55 signatures.

“The responses we received were overwhelmingly positive,” said Lori Glisson. “Many people thanked us for our efforts and gave us encouragement.”

Glisson said many township residents  were unaware of the health and safety issues associated with placement of wind turbines, such as the setback distance, flicker effect, and the sleep disturbance associated with the sound levels of turbines.

“One man told us that he was in favor of turbines, but didn't feel the ordinance passed had enough distance from homes to be safe,” Glisson said. “Some people were concerned about the noise level not being lower, not just at night but all of the time for those who work different shifts.”

Glisson said she and her husband circulated the petitions to give township residents the opportunity to decide if the existing ordinance is of the best interest of residents regarding health and safety.

In March, township board member Chris White, who also serves on the planning commission, said commissioners were looking for a reasonable ordinance that would give property owners the right to use their land as they wanted while protecting the safety of residents.

The Glissons contend that the ordinance falls short in guaranteeing residents’ well-being.

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