ARVON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION PUBLIC HEARING
AUGUST 10, 2020
CALL TO ORDER: 6:00 p.m.
ROLL CALL AND RECOGNITION OF VISITORS: Bette Gabe, Chairperson; Dorothy Nankervis, Trustee; Joe Bollech, Trustee; Mary Deline, Trustee; Keith Erickson, Township Board Representative; Linnea Barron, Secretary. Absent: Jay Loman, Trustee, unknown reason.
Visitors included: Sue Bollech, Irene Fisher, Jeanette Baker, Nancy Strohschein, Wayne Abba, Marie Stiebe, Catherine Andrews, Jay Fish, Ken Andersen.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: The pledge of allegiance was recited.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES: A motion to accept the minutes from the July quarterly meeting made by Keith, seconded by Dorothy, all agreed, motion carried.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA: Mary made a motion to accept the agenda, seconded by Dorothy, all agreed, motion carried.
PRESENTATION OF ZONING TEXT AMENDMENTS AND NEW DEFINITIONS:
Available to all present were copies of the new definitions and changes made to the amendments on the wind energy portion of our ordinance.
Bette started the presentation by presenting the new definitions. It was clarified that these definitions were added as they appear in the amendments. Next Bette presented the amendments page by page bringing attention to anything in bold print indicating a change. These changes include a height limitation of 330 feet per turbine; distance from Lake Superior be 5 miles landward in the forest resource district; guidelines for siting and use of wind turbine structures and testing towers; sound pressure level; shadow flicker; property setbacks; distance between turbines; safety; avian and wildlife impact; decommissioning; complaint resolution; change in ownership; liability insurance.
OPENING OF PUBLIC COMMENTS: Jay Fish thanked us for a great job on these amendments. He expressed concern about the roads and the addition of transmission lines to utilize the electricity generated. We do not address this in our amendments as there is no way to measure this until the turbine location is known. Katherine Andrews interjected that the proposed transmission lines of the wind energy system for L’Anse Township would have been 28 miles, and Arvon Township is farther away. Jay stated he is an active outdoor enthusiast who likes to see the area stay the same with all the wonderful outdoor activities available to us. Wayne Abba also was in favor of the amendments and thanked the planning commission for their hard work. He was glad to see the addition of a decommissioning plan and security guarantee. Jeanette Baker was in favor of the amendments and thanked us. In explaining the distance from the shores of Lake Superior for any proposed wind turbines, Bette stated that we were advised to change from 7 miles to 5 miles by attorney, Josh Nolan. The US Fish and Wildlife Service guidelines are now 3 miles but they and other avian and conservation groups are looking to recommend 5 miles, with some suggesting 10 miles. Jeanette suggested that we include in our amendments that the distance be 5 miles or as recommended by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, whichever is greater. Jeanette questioned why we had reference to shadow flicker on page 3 and on page 11. Keith stated that on page 3 shadow flicker is pertaining to on-site wind turbines, not the utility grid turbines. She then felt on page 11 that the non-participating property lines with direct line-of-sight to a wind turbine was confusing. She stated that even though she cannot see the wind turbine there could be shadow flicker. She felt that the sentence should read non-participating properties, and omit the rest of the sentence. Jeanette also suggested on page 5 that we add to the sentence on fire detection systems and fire suppression systems the words “acceptable to the Township”. Nancy Strohschein is also in favor of the amendments. On page 9 of our amendments, she questioned on letter H. (water bodies, waterways, etc) the sentence on newly constructed WECS access roads may not impede the flow of water. A discussion on what a flow of water was addressed, is it a trickle or a torrent. Also there may be flow of water in the spring and not anymore in the summer. The definition of a river bed/bank was discussed and Jay stated that an area that shows a definite river bed and banks would be where a flow of water was present even if dry. Irene Fisher also added how the access roads could deteriorate just getting the turbines in place. She stated that at the Pine Ridge wind farm one turbine took 52 semi-loads of cement or concrete for one turbine. She felt this would impact the roads, water bodies, creeks, etc., in a negative way, especially in our area. Keith referred to the pre-application permit section in our amendments that covers this on #3, environment, a and b. These are the studies necessary before the application will be accepted. This would be in the Environmental Impact Statement. It was suggested that we add a sentence referring to this information on page 5, letter H. Nancy also wondered about the last item about liability insurance if the amount of $5,000,000 was sufficient and was it for the whole turbine system or per turbine. We discussed this and feel this needs to be clarified. Sue Bollech favored the amendments and agreed with the comments made. Irene Fisher favored the amendments and the good discussions. She felt that our wind turbine ordinance could be a model for other townships. Marie Stiebe favored the amendments and thanked us. Ken Anderson, our Zoning Administrator, had no comments.
ACKNOWLEDGE CORRESPONDENCE AND PHONE CALLS, IF ANY: Burt Mason voiced his support for our amendments and stated he would be unable to attend our hearing due to having to attend another meeting. No other calls or correspondence were received.
RECOGNIZE AND NOT SUPPORT AND/OR OPPOSITION TO ABOVE PROPOSALS: The proposed amendments were supported by those in attendance.
PUBLIC HEARING IS CLOSED AND REGULAR MEETING AGENDA CONTINUES: Bette at this time closed the public hearing portion at 7:10 p.m. and regular meeting commenced.
COMMISSION MEMBERS DISCUSS AND DELIBERATE ON PROPOSED UPDATED ZONING TEXT AMENDMENTS AND DEFINITIONS TO BE ADDED AND ANY MODIFICATIONS, IF ANY: The Planning Commission felt that the suggestions from the public were valid and we made the following modifications to our amendments”
- On page 4, #4, shall read: Utility grid wind energy tower shall meet a minimum setback of five (5) miles or the recommended setback of the US Fish & Wildlife Service, whichever is greater landward from the shorelines of Lake Superior and Huron Bay.
- On page 5, under Safety, last sentence, shall read: Utility grid wind energy towers shall have built-in fire detection systems and fire suppression systems acceptable to the Township.
- On page 9, letter H., add the following sentence: Refer to the Pre-application Permit on page 5, #3, Environment, letters a and b, for reference.
- Page 10, #4, change Environment Analysis to Environmental Impact Statement.
- Page 11, #6, Shadow Flicker, change second sentence to read: The analysis shall include potential shadow flicker created by each proposed wind turbine in any non-participating properties.
- Page 12, Liability Insurance: We discussed whether to have the amount pertain to per turbine or the whole system. Many felt that if for a whole system it was not enough. Bette will contact attorney, Josh Nolan, on this.
A MOTION IS CALLED FOR; A VOTE IS CALLED FOR, AND RESULTS RECORDED: A motion was made by Keith and seconded by Mary to approve the modifications to our proposed amendments that resulted from our discussions with the public. Joe Bollech, yea; Dorothy
Nankervis, yea; Mary Deline, yea; Keith Erickson, yea; Linnea Barron, yea; Bette Gabe, yea. Motion carried. A final draft of this will be sent to our Township Board for their consideration.
ADJOURNMENT: Joe made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Dorothy. All agreed, motion carried. Adjourned at 7:35 p.m.
Submitted by Linnea Barron, Secretary