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Brookfield Township residents fight against county zoning laws

Residents in the town of Brooksfield Township are fighting back against Huron County this month in an attempt to stop the county from imposing zoning laws that the city does not want. And according to a lawsuit filed by the Brookfield Township Clerk Michael Lorencz, this is a battle that has been going since the beginning of the year now.

The dispute began when investors from NextEra proposed a plan to bring wind energy to the northeast region of Michigan. Turbines were slated to be built in Brooksfield Township and surrounding towns, but the company needed to know the town's zoning laws before moving forward with the project. Certain exceptions made to the zoning laws in 2012 complicated the issue though, finally culminating in Huron County choosing to enforce its zoning laws completely over the town.

But the county's decision to override the local zoning laws that had already been voted on angered residents enough to push for an injunction against the county. According to the head lawyer in the lawsuit, Huron County's decision to impose new zoning ordinances was a "clear side-step" around laws residents had already voted on, effectively getting rid of laws they wanted.

This month Huron County Circuit Court Judge M. Richard Knoblock considered the lawsuit and the injunction, questioning whether the town was sincerely being inflicted irreparable harm by the new zoning laws. In Knoblock's opinion it was not and has since dissolved the temporary restraining order against Huron County. The merit of the lawsuit will still be decided at a hearing in late September, Knoblock says. But until then, NextEra is allowed to push forward with its wind energy plans in the mean time.

Source: The Huron Daily Tribune, "Wind project plans can proceed," Nich Wolak, May 29, 2013

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