Voters to get say on wind turbine rules
ROGERS CITY — When voters in some parts of Presque Isle County head to the polls on Aug. 6, they will have a chance to decide whether or not to keep a controversial wind turbine ordinance.
Voters in Metz Township also will determine whether to renew a property tax for road improvements.
Presque Isle County’s Ordinance 2 was passed by the county Board of Commissioners last year, specifying setbacks for wind turbines as well as solar energy installations. The ordinance also was updated to include definitions about turbines, setbacks, noise levels, and a variety of other issues.
The referendum is headed to the ballot after former Moltke Township residents Mike and Stefani Schulte obtained enough petition signatures to force a public vote.
The Schultes have voiced concern about how turbines on neighboring properties would impact a portion of their property where they grazed cattle. The Schultes have since moved downstate.
Several other Moltke Township residents have also voiced concerns about wind turbines to county commissioners.
County Clerk Ann Marie Main previously told The News the referendum would appear on the ballot “for only the townships in which the county has ordinances over.”
Voters in Presque Isle, Krakow and Allis townships, as well as those who live in Rogers City, Onaway, Posen and Millersburg, will not vote because those governments have their own zoning ordinances.
Voting — either for or against the ordinance — would not ban wind turbines from being constructed or operating within the county.
Voting yes on the proposal would support the zoning ordinance approved by county commissioners and keep it on the books. Voting no would force the county to reconsider its ordinance.
County Building and Zoning Official Mike Libby previously told The News that, if voters decide they do not like the county’s ordinance, the county would continue to operate under the original ordinance, which included far fewer specifications for turbines to follow.
He said the county would also form a subcommittee to write a new ordinance to regulate wind and solar energy.
Voters in Metz Township will get to determine whether to renew an existing millage for road improvements and repairs.
The 1-mill property tax would cost the owner of a $100,000 house about $50 a year and would be levied for five years.
Township Supervisor Nyle Wickersham said the millage typically generates $12,000 a year which is used for road improvements.
Wickersham said the township works in conjunction with the Presque Isle County Road Commission to fund repairs in the township.
“We have a really good relationship with them,” he said. “Any roads we have in our township, they do an excellent job on them, and there’s a lot of projects that, naturally, we have to contribute to.”
Wickersham said that, last year, the township partnered with the road commission to repave the roads in the village of Metz as well as complete a sealcoating on 441 Highway out to 634 Highway.
“This year, they will be doing a lot of work on 634 Highway on our township with a triple seal,” he said, which is the biggest project the township plans to fund this year.