Board listens to residents’ concerns

 

GOODLAND TWP. — After listening to residents’ concerns, the Goodland Twp. Board has taken a stance on solar energy.

At their meeting on January 9, the board voted to adopt an amended solar ordinance with specifications they wanted included. Had they done nothing, they would have most likely been at the mercy of the State’s guidelines for solar farms.

The township has been contacted by at least one solar company who has expressed interest in building a solar farm in the township.

Goodland Twp. board members listen to comments being made during public comment time. The board passed an amendment to their solar ordinance at their meeting last week.

“We’re going to get this done tonight,” Supervisor Ron Cischke told fellow board members during the meeting. “It’s gone on long enough. We’ve heard what the residents have said, and we need to take a stand. We’ll see where it goes from here. It’s better than doing nothing.”

Opponents of solar power filled the township meeting room several times over recent months, venting their frustrations over the board’s lack of action.

Cischke said around 18 leases have been signed for a proposed solar farm in the township.

Susan Jones, one of those opposed to solar energy coming to the township, said at a recent meeting she felt homeowners would not want to see the large solar panels near private homes.

She has also been made aware of a newly formed group of people who have an initiative circulating to try and stop the state from enacting new legislation that basically supercedes any township action, in allowing solar and wind developments in the state.

“My understanding is they are trying to collect enough signatures to get the issue put on the ballot to give taxpayers a chance to voice their opposition to the new state legislation,” she said.

Late last year, legislators passed new bills, and the Governor signed them in to law, that essentially took control of solar and wind developments away from cities, villages and townships.

The board passed an amendment to their ordinance Tuesday night that requires certain setbacks from property lines and dwellings of up to 300 feet.

Cischke said the board has been working on the ordinance for nearly two years and he was glad to have the issue done. He did say, like other municipalities, Goodland will now wait and see what happens at the state level.

If control is restored to local entities, “Goodland at least has something in place, some guidelines set,” he said.

In other township news, Clerk Mavis Roy told the board and audience the upcoming election cycle for 2024 will be a busy one.

“We have three elections this year and it’s going to be a busy time for us,” she said. “With this nine days of early voting, we will be having post cards sent out to all of our registered voters, letting them know that everyone will come to the township hall to vote, during those nine days.”

Goodland Township has 1,484 registered voters.

“Voters can still come in as usual for the votes on election days. It’s just that they now have the option of voting nine days early, if they wish. Residents can also register to vote on election day now too. It’s turning into a lot of work for local clerks,” Roy explained.

The three election days for this year are in February (Presidential Primary), the August Primary and the November General Election.

Local issues, including millages and board seats, will also be on the ballot in select municipalities.