The “Buffer Zone” Explained

If you’ve been reading the site or have gotten updates from Save Reading, you’re probably wondering what this “buffer zone” is all about.

At the April Township Board meeting, the Board proposed two changes to the existing Zoning Ordinance for Large Scale Wind Energy Systems. As we understand them, these are the changes: (Please note that this language is NOT OFFICIAL!)

Add and define the term “buffer zone” — an area within the overlay district where wind turbines would not be permitted.
The location of the “buffer zone” would be:

On the north — west of 49/north of Bankers Road
On the west — west of Abbott Road from Bankers to Reading Road
No changes on the south and east
1/2 mile radius surrounding the trailer park on Bankers Road
1/2 to 3/4 mile radius surrounding the City of Reading — including all parcels identified as 22, 23, 26 and 27 in the Hillsdale County Plat Book 2010.

The noise restrictions of 45 dB for participating property owners, 40dB for properties within the overlay area but non-participating and 35dB outside the overlay remain unchanged. The buffer zone is simply an area where turbines could not be built. Everything else in the ordinance stands, so therefore buffer zone area noise restrictions are 40dB.

Here is a link to the formal map outlining the proposed Buffer Zone:
Reading Township Proposed Buffer Zone

Residents inside the overlay area who are non-participants are better protected as long as they do not sign a “Good Neighbor” agreement. “Good Neighbor” agreements provide the wind developer more latitude, therefore reducing the protection stated in the current ordinance that was approved by the Board back in December of 2010.

The Planning Commission now must incorporate these revisions into the current ordinance. They’re holding a public hearing on May 2 at 7 p.m., where they will also be discussing the permitting process. This is a very important meeting — please try to attend if you can!

If all goes smoothly, the Township Board could vote on the changes as early as the May 9 Township Board meeting.

As you can see, this could be a major change to the existing ordinance. Please plan on attending the Public Hearing on May 2 and the Township Board meeting on May 9 as we continue our efforts!

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