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Thursday, May 09, 2019

L'Anse Township rejects zoning changes; industrial wind farms disallowed on commercial forest

L' ANSE -- The Friends of the Huron Mountains, a group formed in opposition to the proposed industrial Summit Lake wind project (since canceled), announced recently that township voters decisively rejected zoning changes that would have expanded dramatically the area open to industrial wind development.

The May 7 referendum vote tally was 315 to 257, a 55-45 percent margin. Approved by the Township Board of Commissioners on October 11, 2018, the changes would have made all Forest Resource land in the township (in addition to Conservation/Recreation land) eligible for industrial wind development and increased permissible turbine blade length by lowering ground clearance height.

Friends spokesperson Wayne Abba expressed satisfaction with the outcome and noted that the result will restore the pre-existing zoning.

"With this behind us, local officials must accept that their rush to approve poorly written developer-friendly zoning was ill-advised. The people have spoken," Abba said.

The group now will shift its focus to helping the community improve its master plan and zoning.

Friends Chairman Burt Mason said, "We have conducted extensive research worldwide. Our well-informed, active volunteers are ready, willing and able to assist local officials in improving area planning and zoning to protect the health, safety and welfare of residents, enhance use of our natural and historic treasures, and attract desirable new businesses."

The Friends of the Huron Mountains is a nonprofit corporation formed to serve the common interests of residents, visitors and friends of Baraga and Marquette counties in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.