Huron County Michigan Looks for Ways to Cap Growth of Wind Energy Development.
Michigan Wind Farm
Life here is ‘living nightmare’
Please contact us and join in the fight to right the wrongs that have taken place in Garden Township and Delta County with regard to the wind turbines. If you live outside Garden Township, wind turbines should still concern you. In a May 11 speech at Big Bay de Noc School, Marty Lagina, CEO of Heritage, suggested that wind turbines would help make the whole UP 'green.' Perhaps he meant the color of money?
Concerned Citizens of Delta County educates the public and monitors and holds government and corporate entities accountable with relation to the construction and operation of Wind Energy Systems in Delta County. We are seeking the input of residents and property owners of Delta County regarding wind turbines. More...
310 Ludington Street, Escanaba, MI 49829 Phone: 789-5100
Commissioner District 1 / John Malnar: malnar.john62(at)gmail.com
Commissioner District 2 / Patrick Johnson, Gladstone, pjohnson(at)deltacountymi.org
Commissioner District 3 / Mary K. Harrington, Vice Chairman: mharrington(at)deltacountymi.org
Commissioner District 4 / David J. Moyle: dmoyle(at)chartermi.net / Phone: 235-8427
Commissioner District 5 / David J. Rivard: koi(at)charter.net
Julian Vandecaveye 11314 Hwy. M-35, Perkins, MI 49872 Phone: 359-4477
Benny Herioux 2324 17th Road, Bark River, MI 49807 Phone: 786-5671
Patrick Connor, City of Escanaba Appointment 3405 8th Avenue South, Escanaba, MI 49829 Phone:399-2787
John Denholm 2676 II Road, Garden, MI 49835 Phone: 644-7198
Renee Barron 2948 St. Nicholas 31st Rd, Rock, MI 49880 Phone: 359-4602
Randy Scott 7722 Summit 19.55 Dr., Gladstone, MI 49837 Phone: 428-2414
David Moyle, County Board Representative 1501 1st Avenue South, Escanaba, MI 49829 Phone: 235-8427 email: dmoyle(at)chartermi.net
Dan Menacher, Building & Zoning Administrator 310 Ludington Street, Escanaba, MI 49829 Phone: 789-5189
Marty Lagina, Founder and Chief Executive:
Rick Wilson, VP Operations:
A response to the original article by Alyssa Baker posted in UpperMichiganSource.com on 5/14/15.
GARDEN TOWNSHIP -- Heritage Sustainable Energy is suing Garden Township for creating two noise ordinances that allegedly are unconstitutional, invalid, and were created with conflict of interest.
The complaint was filed May 12th and deals specifically with Garden Township Ordinances 2014-1 and 2015-2.
Heritage Energy is also claiming that Ordinances 2014-1 and 2015-2 are extremely restrictive when compared to the Delta County Zoning Ordinance.
According to Ordinance 2014-1 “From the hours 10pm-6am the sound pressure levels must be 35 dB.” That is a 10-20 dB difference when compared to the 45/55 dB limit provided by Delta County Zoning Ordinance.
Note from DeltaCountyWind: The current turbines in Delta County are not regulated by existing zoning. Current zoning was created after the turbines were conditionally permitted by Delta County, without noise limitations. Therefore, Heritage does not have to limit turbine noise to 45/55 dB and according to neighboring residents, noise frequently surpasses acceptable levels between the hours of 10pm and 6am. If Heritage is within the 45/55, neighbors agree that the sound limits are TOO LOUD for a rural setting.
According to Heritage's complaint, the statements of facts are:
-Heritage Garden Wind Farm LLC and Heritage Sustainable Energy LLC owns and operates 14 wind turbines, 24 hours a day, in the Garden Township, Delta County.
-Delta County has a Zoning Ordinance that already includes sound pressure level limits for the county. “The sound pressure level shall not exceed 55 dB, measured at the property lines or lease unit boundary, whichever is farther. OR a limit of 45 dB measured at the existing dwelling, whichever measurement is less.” Truth: These turbines are not regulated by this zoning as they were permitted by Delta County when no zoning ordinance existed AND 45dB is too loud for a rural setting.
-Garden Township adopted Ordinance 2014-1 titled Nuisance Noise Abatement Ordinance on December 9th, 2014.
-Garden Township adopted Ordinance 2015-2 titled Nuisance Noise Abatement Ordinance which amended Ordinance 2014-1, and will become effective June 1, 2015.
-Several Garden Township Trustees that voted on the ordinances are directly involved in a separate lawsuit against Heritage Energy. Truth: This noise ordinance pertains to any nuisance noise in Garden Township. Nuisance in the ordinance is defined as repetitive, measurable noise.
-Township Supervisor Ray Young is the father of a plaintiff in a separate lawsuit against Heritage Energy. Truth: A conflict of interest would only occur if Mr. Young was financially benefitting from the passing of the nuisance noise ordinance.
-Heritage Energy created a letter on March 30th asking the board to acknowledge that Ordinances 2014-1 and 2015-2 are void and of no legal effect because of conflicts of interest in Township board members.
-Garden Township has not responded to the March 30th letter. Truth: The letter had no merit. Why should they respond?
The complaint has eight counts against the township.
Count 1: Preemption
Heritage Energy is claiming ordinances 2014-1 and 2015-2 impose sound pressure level limits that are more restrictive than the sound pressure level limits provided by the Delta County Zoning Ordinance.
From the hours 10pm-6am the levels must be 35 dB (compared to the 45/55 dB limit provided by Delta County Zoning Ordinance)
Truth: Heritage Energy has no restrictions on noise emissions and has abused their sound privileges in the neighborhood. A recent sound study done in conjunction with current lawsuits against Heritage and completed by a nationally recognized acoustician show sound emissions between the hours of 10pm and 6am that interfere with sleep patterns.
-Result: Heritage Energy is asking that a judgement is made stating that ordinances 2014-1 and 2015-2 are overruled by the Delta County Zoning Ordinance.
Count 2: Violation of Procedural Due Process
Heritage Energy is claiming that the two Garden Township ordinances are unconstitutional, because they deprive Heritage Energy of their procedural due process rights under the 5th and 14th amendments. Truth: It is the responsibility of the local government to protect the health, safety and welfare of residents. Many residents report sleep deprivation and loss of enjoyment of property due to extraordinary turbine noise. Townships are given Police Power for exactly this type of situation.
-Result: Heritage Energy is asking that a declaratory judgement is made that Ordinance 2014-1 is invalid.
Count 3: Violation of Substantive Due Process
Heritage Energy is claiming that sound pressure levels that do not exceed the level limits provided in the Delta County Zoning Ordinance are not a public nuisance. Truth: A township is able to set its own police power nuisance noise ordinance to protect the health, safety and welfare of residents.
-Result: Heritage Energy is asking that a judgement is made that both ordinances 2014-1 and 2015-2 are invalid.
Count 4: Conflict of Interest
Several Garden Township Trustees that voted on the ordinances are directly involved in a separate lawsuit against Heritage Energy.
Township Supervisor Ray Young is the father of a plaintiff in a separate lawsuit against Heritage Energy. Truth: A conflict of interest would only occur if Mr. Young was financially benefitting from the passing of the nuisance noise ordinance.
-Result: Heritage Energy is asking that the ordinances are invalid and of no legal effect, and that Garden Township should require Supervisor Young and Trustees Richard and Daasch remove themselves from all further discussion, vote or involvement in ordinances or actions involving operation of the Heritage Garden Wind Farm.
Count 5: Open Meeting Act
Heritage Energy states that allegedly both ordinances were voted on in meetings behind locked doors, were not open to the public, and failed to give the public notice of the meetings. Truth: Votes took place at regularly posted meetings, which were open to the public.
Count 6: Non-Conforming Use
The 14 wind turbines were constructed and have been in operation since September 14, 2012. Truth: No zoning whatsoever applies to these fourteen turbines. Heritage has continually ignored residents' complaints of noise. Delta County Commissioners claim that they are unable to do anything about the noise because they failed to create any guidelines whatsoever regarding the operation of the turbines, allowing Heritage to operate them as they choose, without regard to the health, safety or welfare of local residents. The police power noise ordinance passed by the township is a measure of last resort in order to protect neighboring residents from excessive noise.
-Result: Heritage Energy is asking that a declaratory judgement is made that the 14 existing wind turbines can be used in the same manner as they have been operated prior to the ordinances.
Count 7: Equitable Estoppel
The 14 wind turbines were constructed and have been in operation since September 14, 2012. Constructing the 14 turbines cost in excess of $50 million.
Before the project began the Garden Township supervisor and several zoning officials witnessed an operational wind farm. At that time the Garden Township did not express any dissatisfaction with sound levels. Truth: The previous administration in Garden Township gained financially when it allowed Heritage to build in the township, creating a true conflict of interest. The current administration led by Ray Young was elected on its promise to bring the current turbines into compliance with township and county zoning standards. In a 2014 survey, 93% of Garden Township residents were in favor of greater setbacks for turbines due to noise.
-Result: Heritage Energy is asking that a declaratory judgment is made that Garden Township is equitable estopped from enforcing the two ordinances against Heritage with respect to its continued operation of the 14 existing wind turbines.
Count 8: Injunctive Relief
Heritage Energy is asking that permanent relief is given to the company from Garden Township ever enforcing the two ordinances. Truth: Heritage continues to abuse its privileges in Garden Township. Residents have complained of noise since the turbines first started turning. Heritage has shown over and over its lack of concern for preserving the culture, health, safety and welfare of township and village residents, claiming that the company and leaseholders would lose money with any abatement in noise.
Does this sound familiar?
This eagle feasts on the carcass of a deer just yards from Turbines G12 and G8 in the Garden Wind Farm on April 8, 2015.
The methods used herein allowed for the collection of infrasonic sound pressure levels within the inside of the Andersen residence. As shown in Figure 6, there is a readily identifiable acoustic signature that can be definitively attributable to Wind #1 and possibly Wind #2 located outside the Andersen home. To NCE’s knowledge, this is the first time such measurements have been performed and reported with respect to the Falmouth wind turbines. However, this is not the first time such measurements have been performed, and other researchers have collected low frequency infrasonic acoustic signatures at other wind turbine sites in Wisconsin and Australia (references 11, 12). As reported in these other studies, the same blade passage rate infrasound and harmonic shown inside the Andersen home have been identified.
Given NCE’s signature analysis and the dramatic change in this acoustic signature when the wind turbine(s) are shut down, NCE can unequivocally state that the infrasonic signature captured inside the Andersen residence is 100% attributable to either one or both of the Town of Falmouth Wind Turbines. To put the conclusions more commonly, this study finds that the wind turbine(s) produce acoustic emissions which are “acoustically trespassing” into the Andersen home.
Brown County health officials have declared wind turbines a public health risk, but they haven't determined how to put their declaration into action.
The county's Health Board this month declared the Shirley Wind Farm operated by Duke Energy Renewables poses a health risk to its neighbors in the town of Glenmore. Three families have moved out of their homes rather than endure physical illness they blame on the low-frequency noise the wind turbines generate, according to Audrey Murphy, president of the board that oversees the Brown County Health Department.
"We struggled with this but just felt we needed to take some action to help these citizens," Murphy said.
DENMARK, WI - At the October 14, 2014 Brown County Board of Health meeting, a motion was unanimously approved declaring the Shirley Wind turbines a "Human Health Hazard". The text of the unanimously approved motion reads:
"To declare the Industrial Wind Turbines at Shirley Wind Project in the Town of Glenmore, Brown County, WI. A Human Health Hazard for all people (residents, workers, visitors, and sensitive passersby) who are exposed to Infrasound/Low Frequency Noise and other emissions potentially harmful to human health."
The manufacturer's recommended minimum safety clearance for a 495-foot tall wind turbine is 1640 feet. Right now, more than 22 families in Garden Township are living in the "runaway turbine" zone. Don't let this happen to your neighborhood. More...
Setbacks greater than 5 times the height of the full turbine can help preserve peaceful rural settings and keep our residents safe.
Zoning in Delta County will allow the next phase of wind turbines to operate at levels up to 55 decibels.
For rural settings, which are found throughout Delta County, acoustic experts recommend a 35 decibel maximum.
Tell your Delta County Board representative to preserve the peaceful settings in our townships by requiring a 35 decibel maximum for turbine operations as measured at a property line of a non-leasholder. More...
Sleep deprivation and other health issues can be side-effects of wind turbines that operate above the recommended decibel limits. More...
Yellow highlighted areas show leaseholder land.
Delta County implemented a 1/4 mile (1320 feet) setback for wind turbines as measured from a dwelling.
1/4 mile is too close!
Setbacks greater than 5 times the height of the full turbine can help preserve peaceful rural settings and keep our residents safe. The setbacks should include a 1640-foot safety easement for leaseholder families.
Acoustic experts recommend a 35 decibel maximum for rural settings, including a 50dB(c) maximum for protection from low frequency noise.
Require that wind turbine setbacks and noise levels be measured from a property line and not a dwelling. This preserves the use of property for the landowner and prevents 'inverse condemnation' from occurring, which is the illegal taking of land.
iiccusa.org - Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition
Wind-Watch.org - National Wind Watch Organization
Save Our Sherman - Insights from wind target community, Sherman Township, Michigan
Booklet given to Delta County officials at June 2014 Wind Energy Presentation (Zip Download - 19.9MB)