The Montcalm County Planning Commission continues to beg the question of its existence.
The Planning Commission met on Monday theoretically to review wind, solar and principal use draft ordinances from Winfield Township as well as a solar ordinance from Maple Valley Township; however, commissioners didn’t have much to say about any of it.
After working on multiple versions of wind energy and solar energy ordinances for the past three years, the Winfield Township Board appears to be reaching a conclusion, although only time will tell if this township or neighboring municipalities end up in court.
The Montcalm County Planning Commission once again barely made quorum at its most recent meeting, but the issue may be moot as it appears the committee will soon be dissolved anyway.
Chairman Chuck Hill, Vice Chairman Darin Dood and members Jakob Bigard, John Johansen and Adam Petersen were all present for the Planning Commission’s July 17 meeting, while members Daniel Brant, Chris Mark and Lonnie Smith were all absent.
After nearly three years — a time filled with numerous special meetings, resignations, appointments, multiple drafts, amendments and reviews by planners and attorneys — a round of applause greeted new regulations finally approved specific to private and commercial wind turbines.
During the July 12 Montcalm Township Board meeting, a 13-page amendment to section 7.24 of the township’s zoning ordinance — otherwise known as Private and Commercial Wind Energy Conversion Facilities — was approved in a 4-1 vote of the board.
A Montcalm County commissioner attended his first meeting as a newly appointed member of the county Planning Commission, where he questioned whether the committee was accomplishing anything and railed against conflict of interest policies preventing people from sharing their thoughts.
Adam Petersen of Montcalm Township attended his first Planning Commission meeting as a member on Monday after the Board of Commissioners appointed him to replace Commissioner Phil Kohn of Edmore who hadn’t attended any Planning Commission meetings this year.
With an opportunity in front of them to approve what is in essence a new wind energy ordinance, members of the Montcalm Township Board have decided to wait one more month on a decision in order to honor a state statute.
During Wednesday’s meeting, the township board considered a recommendation from the Montcalm Township Planning Commission to approve amendments to section 7.24 of the township’s zoning ordinance — otherwise known as Private and Commercial Wind Energy Conversion Facilities.
A multi-year effort of drafting, reviewing, re-drafting and re-reviewing a reworked wind energy ordinance for this township is now heading down the final stretch towards approval.
During the May 16 meeting of the Montcalm Township Planning Commission, Commissioners voted unanimously to send an amended version of section 7.24 of the township’s zoning ordinance — otherwise known as Private and Commercial Wind Energy Conversion Facilities — to the Montcalm County Planning Commission for review.
Two topics pending at the Montcalm County level were discussed during Monday’s Pierson Township Board meeting — the county clerk’s office being relocated, as well as the future of the county Planning Commission.
Montcalm County Commissioner Ron Baker of Howard City requested feedback from the township board regarding the Montcalm County Planning Commission after Montcalm County Board of Commissioners Chairman Patrick Q. Carr of Cato Township questioned whether the county Planning Commission was relevant anymore.