Wind turbines discussed at meeting 2012.07.11

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Many people attending the June 27 public meeting at the Morenci American Legion Home were hoping to hear from both sides of the wind turbine issue.

But, as advertised, the meeting was sponsored by the Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition—a group dedicated to informing the public of “the potential impacts from the construction of industrial wind turbines.”

The two speakers outlined potential problems with land leases and listed problems residents might have living near a turbine. No one in the audience challenged any of the points made during the presentation.

Township resident Matt Simpkins, however, said he wasn’t pleased with what he saw as a negative approach to the issue. He thinks some attention should be paid to what might be gained from having turbines and the economic stimulus a wind farm could provide.

Addressing the two speakers—Kevon Martis from Riga Township and Toledo attorney Josh Nolan—Simpkins asked, “Why don’t we hire you guys and say, ‘We want them in our township.’ Write an ordinance that can help our township and we’ll pay you money to do this.”

Are there any areas in the township, Simpkins asked, where turbines could be placed where it wouldn’t affect anyone’s property values?

“I would say yes,” Martis answered. “If you adopt an ordinance like Riga’s that you don’t need to pay us for.”

Simpkins said that would force turbines out of the township, but Martis said that isn’t true, that it’s the only way to treat your neighbors.

“Your question is, Can you hire me to work on a pro-wind turbine ordinance?” Martis said. “No, I don’t do this for hire. I do this for free.”

Martis claimed that a pro-wind ordinance is already in place in Seneca Township and it faces a vote of the people in August.

“I’m not here to tell you what to do with your township,” he said. “I’m here to tell you what Riga’s experience is and what we found out after four years of exhaustive research.”

Martis cautioned to take developers’ claims with a grain of salt.

Simpkins said he signed a petition to bring the issue up for a vote, but he wanted to hear some positive aspects of wind power. He wanted a more open-minded discussion to help people decide.

Martis wasn’t offering anything about the good side of turbines, and he said later that the negatives far outweigh the positives.

Medina Township resident John Van Havel, Jr., pointed to a statement on the flyer advertising the meeting and asked how Seneca’s ordinance fails to protect residents.

Martis quoted studies saying the noise level should be 40 decibels or less and said that Seneca’s is set at 45 to 50.

“That’s it?” Van Havel asked.

Yes, Martis said, the World Health Organization says it’s too loud.

What happens if voters reject the ordinance as written?

The township board could ask the planning commission to come up with a new ordinance, Martis said, or the board could do it on its own.

Another audience member asked why there’s no suggestion made to visit a wind farm. Martis said he highly recommends it, but he cautioned that the odds are in favor of a well-behaving turbine.

Martis said a planning commission member from Merritt Township near Bay City spent three nights in a house near a turbine and it wasn’t until the third visit that he declared, “Nobody should have to live like this.”

Martis said he isn’t asking anyone to blindly accept what he has to say, but he also cautioned against blindly accepting the word of anyone who has a financial stake through a lease for wind development.

Clyde Barron said that he drove to the Paulding, Ohio, area to get a first-hand look at a wind farm. 

“I’d never seen one before other than the [single unit] at Fayette and I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “When I got to it, I was overwhelmed.”

He stopped to talk to someone who was mowing his lawn and asked him what he thought about the turbines since he lived close by. The man said the closest turbine was about a thousand feet from his house.

“What do you think about living underneath them?” Barron asked.

“You don’t want these,” the man said.

Barron said he drove down one of the service roads and stood in a position with a turbine upwind and another downwind. That’s when he formed his opposition to turbines.

“It’s going to change things in a major way,” Barron said. “I know it all sounds negative, but unless you drive out and experience one, I don’t think you really know what we’re in for.”

  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.pokemon
    LATEST CRAZE—David Cortes (left) and Ty Kruse, along with Jerred Heselschwerdt (standing), consult their smartphones while engaging in the game of Pokémon Go. The virtual scavenger hunt comes to life when players are in the vicinity of gyms, such as Stair District Library, and PokéStops such as the fire station across the street. The boys had spent time Monday morning searching for Pokémon at Wakefield Park.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016