2017-04-27 / Life in Leelanau

Solar panels may be added to windmill site

A solar farm at the corner of Bugai Road and M-72 in Elmwood Township may be added to a site that has been occupied for years by a wind turbine generator.

A company called Heritage Sustainable Energy bought the windmill from Traverse City Light and Power last year, and is now planning to install an array of solar panels on the property.

Heritage has applied for a conditional land use permit and a site plan review from the Elmwood Township Planning Commission, which considered Heritage’s application at the commission’s regular monthly meeting last week.

Township zoning administrator Sara Kopriva said planners spoke with a Heritage representative about the need for landscaping on the site and more detailed information about vegetative buffering that will be added along M-72.

In addition, Kopriva said, township fire chief Keith Tampa indicated that access to the site will need to be improved for emergency services vehicles should they be required to enter the site.

Heritage will be expected to return to next month’s Planning Commission meeting with additional information, Kopriva said. The request for a conditional land use permit will be the subject of a public hearing at the commission’s next meeting, on May 16, Kopriva added.

In other business at the Planning Commission’s April 18 meeting, Kopriva reported that items of “old business” included a continued discussion about the definition of a “vineyard.” She said no action was taken to amend the zoning ordinance to include the definition. She said planners will likely continue to use a standard dictionary definition of that word and many others that are not spelled out in the Zoning Ordinance.

Elmwood planners also continued a review of the township Master Plan as part of a routine review that is required every five years under state law. Kopriva said no major policy changes are contemplated for the Master Plan, but the review will continue next month as well.

Return to top