Saturday, July 2, 2022

20 recall petitions filed against 3 Winfield Township Board members

WINFIELD TOWNSHIP — A total of 20 recall petitions were filed against three members of the Winfield Township Board after those board members voted last week to approve a controversial wind energy ordinance.

Winfield Township Board Supervisor Phyllis Larson tells attendees to end their discussion during a special township board meeting. — DN Photo | Sean Chase

Dave Meyers of Winfield Township on Tuesday filed eight petitions each against Supervisor Phyllis Larson and Clerk Colleen Stebbins and four petitions against Trustee John Black. Those three board members voted in favor of approving a wind ordinance, while Treasurer Cathy Killinger and Trustee Steve Cole voted “no” at a special meeting on June 15.

The sizable number of petitions filed means Meyers is leaving nothing to chance when it comes to the Montcalm County Election Commission determining whether to approve or deny the wording of each of the petitions.

The Election Commission will hold a clarity hearing on the 20 petitions at 2:30 p.m. on July 6 — the same day a clarity hearing is scheduled for an unrelated recall effort against Montcalm Township Clerk Jessica Shearer.

For the Montcalm Township or Winfield Township recall to appear on November’s ballot, the Election Commission must first approve the wording and then signed petitions must be filed with the Montcalm County Clerk’s Office by Aug. 5. Assuming the Election Commission approves at least some of the petitions on July 6, residents will have exactly 30 days from July 6 to Aug. 5 to collect enough valid signatures — 346 needed in Montcalm Township and 257 needed in Winfield Township.

Notice of adoption of the new wind ordinance was published by Winfield Township in Saturday’s Daily News and again on Wednesday to correct the township’s spelling error of the word “regulate.” A referendum on the wind ordinance is pending — a township resident is expected to deliver a notice of intent to file a referendum to Stebbins sometime this week.

RECALL LANGUAGE AGAINST LARSON

The eight proposed recall language petitions against Larson are as follows:

• At the June 15, 2022, meeting of the Winfield Township Board, Supervisor Phyllis Larson voted to approve Ordinance No. 6-15-22, an ordinance amending Winfield Township zoning ordinance to regulate wind energy facilities, without first publicly declaring for the record at that meeting that she had previously entered into a wind energy easement agreement with Coral Wind I LLC.

• At the June 15, 2022, meeting of the Winfield Township Board, Supervisor Phyllis Larson voted to approve an ordinance amending Winfield Township zoning ordinance to regulate wind energy facilities, Ordinance No. 6-15-22, but failed to publicly identify for the record before her vote at that meeting that she has signed two wind energy easement agreements with Coral Wind I LLC, each dated April 7, 2020.

• Supervisor Phyllis Larson failed to make part of the record, or publicly share with Winfield Township Board members and Winfield Township Planning Commissioners, legal correspondence submitted to Supervisor Larson regarding conflict of interest from attorney Joshua Nolan dated July 28, 2021.

• At the June 15, 2022, meeting of the Winfield Township Board, Supervisor Phyllis Larson voted to approve Ordinance No. 6-15-22, an ordinance amending Winfield Township zoning ordinance to regulate wind energy facilities, with the addition of a 665-foot wind turbine height limit included in said ordinance. The ordinance was adopted by a 3-2 vote.

• At the June 8, 2022, and June 15, 2022, meetings of the Winfield Township Board, Supervisor Phyllis Larson participated in wind ordinance discussions after the signing of her two wind energy easement agreements with Coral Wind I LLC, each dated April 7, 2020. At the June 15, 2022, meeting of the Winfield Township Board, Supervisor Larson voted to approve an ordinance amending Winfield Township zoning ordinance to regulate wind energy facilities, Ordinance No. 6-15-22.

• At the Jan. 13, 2022, meeting of the Winfield Township Board, Supervisor Phyllis Larson presented to the Winfield Township Board a resolution to adopt public meetings policy and voted in favor of a motion to “adopt Winfield Township public meetings policy which will be included in the administrative policy and procedures and all prior resolutions inconsistent herewith are hereby rescinded.” The motion passed.

• At the Dec. 9, 2021, meeting of the Winfield Township Board, Supervisor Phyllis Larson voted in favor of Ordinance No. 12-9-21, ordinance amending Winfield Township zoning ordinance to regulate solar energy systems, which amended Ordinance No. 11-4-21, the day after referendum petition signatures on Ordinance No. 11-4-21 were submitted to the township. The ordinance was adopted by a 5-0 vote and provides for a minimum setback distance of 100 feet from all property boundaries and all public rights-of-way on the outside perimeter of a large solar energy system.

• At the June 15, 2022, meeting of the Winfield Township Board, Supervisor Phyllis Larson voted to approve Ordinance No. 6-15-22, an ordinance amending Winfield Township zoning ordinance to regulate wind energy facilities. The ordinance was adopted by a 3-2 vote.

RECALL LANGUAGE AGAINST STEBBINS

The eight proposed recall language petitions against Stebbins are as follows:

• Clerk Colleen Stebbins failed to properly post or publish a public notice of the June 8, 2022, regular board meeting of the Winfield Township Board, which was rescheduled from its original scheduled date of June 9, 2022.

• Clerk Colleen Stebbins rented the Winfield Township Hall to Mel Christensen, a public engagement organizer for Apex Clean Energy, who is not a resident of Winfield Township, for an Apex open house “by phone on June 4, 2021,” despite the fact that the rental agreement indicates that the Winfield Township Hall can only be rented to residents of Winfield Township.

• Clerk Colleen Stebbins failed to respond to Winfield Township resident Tricia Korhorn’s attempts to file a notice of intent to file petition for referendum dated Nov. 17, 2020. The notice of intent was accepted via email by Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes PLC, legal counsel for Winfield Township, on Nov. 18, 2021.

• At the June 15, 2022, meeting of the Winfield Township Board, Clerk Colleen Stebbins voted to approve Ordinance No. 6-15-22, an ordinance amending Winfield Township’s zoning ordinance to regulate wind energy facilities with the addition of a 665-foot wind turbine height limit included in said ordinance. The ordinance was adopted by a 3-2 vote.

• At the Jan. 13, 2022, meeting of the Winfield Township Board, Clerk Colleen Stebbins voted in favor of a motion to “adopt Winfield Township public meetings policy which will be included in the administrative policy and procedures and all prior resolutions inconsistent herewith are hereby rescinded. The motion passed.

• At the Nov. 4, 2021, meeting of the Winfield Township Board, Clerk Colleen Stebbins voted in favor of a motion to “use the Pioneer Valley Shopper and the Lakeview Area News for all publications.” The motion passed. On June 14, 2022, Colleen Stebbins published in the Daly News the notice of adoption of Ordinance No. 6-15-22, ordinance amending Winfield Township zoning ordinance to regulate wind energy facilities.

• At the Dec. 9, 2021, meeting of the Winfield Township Board, Clerk Colleen Stebbins voted in favor of Ordinance No. 12-9-21, ordinance amending Winfield Township zoning ordinance to regulate solar energy systems, which amended Ordinance No. 11-4-21, the day after referendum petition signatures on Ordinance No. 11-4-21 were submitted to the township. The ordinance was adopted by a 5-0 vote and provides for a minimum setback distance of 100 feet from all property boundaries and all public rights-of-way on the outside perimeter of a large solar energy system.

• At the June 15, 2022, meeting of the Winfield Township Board, Clerk Colleen Stebbins voted to approve Ordinance No. 6-15-22, an ordinance amending Winfield Township zoning ordinance to regulate wind energy facilities. The ordinance was adopted by a 3-2 vote.

RECALL LANGUAGE AGAINST BLACK

The four proposed recall language petitions against Black are as follows:

Winfield Township Trustee John Black discusses his research into a new Vestas model wind turbine during a special township board meeting. — DN Photo | Sean Chase

• At the June 15, 2022, meeting of the Winfield Township Board, Trustee John Black voted to approve Ordinance No. 6-15-22, an ordinance amending Winfield Township zoning ordinance to regulate wind energy facilities, with the addition of a 665-foot wind turbine height limit included in said ordinance. The ordinance was adopted by a 3-2 vote.

• At the Jan. 13, 2022, meeting of the Winfield Township Board, Trustee John Black voted in favor of a motion to “adopt Winfield Township public meetings policy which will be included in the administrative policy and procedures and all prior resolutions inconsistent herewith are hereby rescinded.” The motion passed.

• At the Dec. 9, 2021, meeting of the Winfield Township Board, Trustee John Black voted in favor of Ordinance No. 12-9-21, ordinance amending Winfield Township zoning ordinance to regulate solar energy systems, which amended Ordinance No. 11-4-21, the day after referendum petition signatures on Ordinance No. 11-4-21, were submitted to the township. The ordinance was adopted by a 5-0 vote and provides for a minimum setback distance of 100 feet from all property boundaries and all public rights-of-way on the outside perimeter of a large solar energy system.

• At the June 15, 2022, meeting of the Winfield Township Board, Trustee John Black voted to approve Ordinance No. 6-15-22, an ordinance amending Winfield Township zoning ordinance to regulate wind energy facilities. The ordinance was adopted by a 3-2 vote.

Share This Article:
Share
You can read 2 more free story this month.
Do the right thing, and support your local newspaper.

Subscribe Now!