Wind turbine becomes contentious issue in Thumb - WNEM TV 5

Wind turbine becomes contentious issue in Thumb

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(Source: Dale Ricker) (Source: Dale Ricker)
ELLINGTON TOWNSHIP, MI (WNEM) -

Concerned residents are speaking out about more wind turbines in the Thumb region.

A group of citizens used the Ellington Township planning commission meeting to ask that zooming ordinances be modified to ensure turbines are farther away from homes.

Dustin Weidman pushed for Wednesday night's special planning commission meeting in Caro to discuss a planned wind turbine project in Ellington Township.

"We're not against the turbines. We're fine if a farmer wants to have a turbine on his residence, that's perfectly fine," Weidman said. "We just don't want to have the influence of it on our property."

The citizens cite noise and safety concerns. It's a hot button issue that at least one resident said has fractured this small community.

The group said they're not opposed to wind turbines altogether but want stricter guidelines for where they're put up.

Weidman said he wants a temporary moratorium on the project while the commission considers new zoning requirements for the turbines.

"If I want to build something on the back part of my property, I don't have to worry about something coming off of one of those turbines."

Nextera, which plans to build the turbines in question, and already manages other projects in Tuscola and Bay Counties, is planning to move forward with the project.

"This has literally split the community in half. Friendships that last forty years are now split," Weidman said. "We are a pretty tight  community and it has split us down the middle. You got some people on one side, others on another. And friends that have known each other for years now aren’t even talking at all."

It's a debate that's not expected to end anytime soon.

"As I've done more research, I've become more and more concerned," said resident Mike Pattullo

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