Happy 4th of July to all and an apology for the tardiness of this update.
The public hearing on the application process and the request by Duke to revise the ordinance was held on June 18 before a packed house. The application process was passed quickly without any issues. The meeting, which began at 7:00, did not end until after 10:30 with most of the discussion centering on the Duke requests.
Planning Commission Chair Greg Green structured the meeting so that attendees could speak to the general issue of the wind project and then specifically address the Duke request. As in the past, many of the speakers who were in favor of the wind project, at all costs, were more than passionate. At the end of the day, the Planning Commission members have a really really tough job. They have to digest the Duke request and balance the intent of the ordinance with the Duke request and their own personal opinions. The Township Board had requested a recommendation from the Planning Commission on the entire request – not on individual issues. This meant that the Planning Commission had to vote on the entire request and not on each of the revisions requested. The vote was 2 – 2: Ron Parker and Eric Girdham voted for the revisions; Greg Green and Vicki Hostetter voted against.
Eric Girdham initiated a further discussion stating that he suggested that the commission discuss the merits of each of the requests. At the end of the day the commissioners voted 3 – 1 (Parker, Girdham, and Hostetter for and Green against) the following –
Increase sound level within the overlay to 45 dB LaMax – Duke had requested 45dB but wanted to use the Leq measurement
Measure all sound using LaMax not Leq as requested by Duke
Measure sound from the property line not the dwelling as requested by Duke
This is the recommendation the Planning Commission will present to the Township Board on Monday July 9.
NO action was taken on the following. No inference should be taken as to what the Planning Commission members intend to do with these points – they just were not discussed at this point in the meeting; it was really late and everyone wanted to go home!
No action was taken on eliminating the commercial zone or the mobile home park from the 35dB limit
No action was taken on the May vs. Shall language in the good neighbor agreements – this is probably a non-issue as Duke had agreed to this in a prior meeting
No issue was taken on the stipulation that if sound levels exceed the limits specified in the ordinance that the project would be shut down.
Next steps – Please attend the next Township Board meeting, which will be at the High School instead of the Township Hall. The board will be making a decision on the Duke requests. They can do whatever they want to. They can accept the Planning Commission’s recommendation or ignore it completely. John Burrell, our Township Supervisor, has a contract with Duke, not for a turbine but for an easement. He has rescued himself from any discussions on this project since he was named to the Supervisor position in 2012. The other board members are Kim Blythe, Ron Parker, Dena Berger and Andy Barnhart.