"Over the past few weeks there have been a lot of people discussing the wind turbine farm presented to the County Board of Commissioners Zoning Board from Heritage Sustainable Energy out of Traverse City for the Cooks community. This farm is named "Garden II" by Heritage on their proposed turbine site map.
Our family originally has been at this Cooks property since 1977 as the area is appealing and allows us the freedom one feels of living in a rural community. Nothing compares to the views we see daily of wildlife, trees, open air space, and the sound of an occasional vehicle/four-wheeler or perhaps even the occasional far-off sound of the train making its way through Cooks. We love to sit in our backyard and watch sandhill cranes make their nest on the back field, the return of the American bald eagle, and enjoy hunting on our property.
With the proposed wind turbine locations presented by Heritage with their request for setbacks of on 3/4 mile from neighboring property lines, it will prevent us from enjoying our retirement dream of a "slice of heaven on earth." With Heritage's recommendations, we would be restricted on what we could or couldn't do on our property. We do not have any signed contract with Heritage that would give away our rights, yet because neighbors have, we are penalized. We don't begrudge others the opportunity to make a few dollars on their property and their right to have a turbine erected on their land. But it shouldn't take away from our personal enjoyment views, sounds, property values, or dictate what we can or cannot do on our land.
We encourage visiting the Garden area to listen to the sound made by the existing farm. Make more than one trip down there. When it's loudest, which is dependent on wind speed, imagine that sound in the background while enjoying your backyard bar-b-cue or while in your home with the windows open. Or perhaps you'll be able to see for yourself the "flickering" caused by the sun hitting the blades. Imagine this coming into your windows. One could argue that the wind doesn't blow over 5 mph daily or that once the sun goes down, so does the flickering...well, you would be correct. But then again, there are many days we do have high winds all day and night and the sun shining until well after 9 p.m. during summer months.
We are simply asking the county commissioners to please adopt at least a one-year moratorium in order for everyone involved to thoroughly study the issue. Just because this only pertains to the Cooks area for now, remember, if the county doesn't step up and do anything county-wide, don't assume other communities won't be affected. Yours may be next. Remember just a few years ago, Heritage only started with one "test" turbine in Garden.
Sandra L. Brooks