2011 and Earlier / News

Public hearing Tuesday on new windmill ordinance in Northport

The Northport Village Planning Commission will hold a public hearing Tuesday at 7 p.m. on a new zoning ordinance to regulate wind turbines.

The rooftop-mounted, on-site energy systems ordinance would regulate power generation, setbacks, the high point of the rotor, shadows, noise, certification and installation. If approved, it would become part of the village’s special use permit ordinance as Part C under the towers section.

The Planning Commission approved the ordinance language Jan. 3 by a 4-0 vote with chairman Bill Collins abstaining.

Collins is one of the investors of Leelanau Community Energy, LLC which was issued a special permit Nov. 17 for construction of a wind turbine on village property. Some residents objected because there was no “windmill” ordinance in place.

The Village Council must approve the proposed ordinance before it goes into effect.

The ordinance would require that power generated will be consumed on site and the setback must be equal to at least the overall height of the unit, plus 10 percent. The highest point to the tip of the rotor must be less than 12 feet above the highest point of the structure’s roof.

Rotating shadows could not affect neighbors for more than 10 hours per year and noise levels are restricted to three DBA above the ambient level. All systems would have to be certified by the Small Wind Certification Council and installation would require a P.E. structural engineer.

In addition, all towers and turbines shall meet or exceed current federal government regulations.

The village windmill project has been called into question by residents still opposing the project and its lease with the village for $500 annually.

Resident Ron Schobel has asked the council, to among other things, terminate the lease and remove Collins from the commission. He also has asked if any members of the council were investors or had family members that were investors. The council has not taken action on Schobel’s requests.

By Mike Spencer
Of The Enterprise staff

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