The following was an opinion letter from Robert and Arlene Schipinski of Filion published by the Huron Daily Tribune. The cost of self-zoning efforts of several townships brings to light an important topic of high taxation for non-homestead farmland owners and shoreline cottages, coupled with the frustrating inability to have a say on community affairs from which they are taxed.
When the topic of wind power is mentioned, it almost always triggers a wide range of reactions. The issue of taxation is not nearly as complicated, though. Every taxpayer wants to give their hard-earned money to something that will benefit them in return. When you consider investing in renewable energy, there’s no doubt that energy security and environmentalism come to mind.
To the editor:
Foster Swift attorneys have been representing the pro-wind in Marion Township and anti-wind in Lincoln Township. It is unethical of them to be representing both sides. They are fleecing the townships and laughing all the way to the bank. Is Lincoln Township going to be bankrupted by the board bleeding the general fund with Mike Homier’s legal fees? At approximately $2,500 to $3,500 per appearance, it adds up fast.
Township boards are not answering the questions from the public. Landowners who don’t live in the township, but have to pay taxes here, have absolutely no voice. They cannot vote on an issue pertaining to their land. This is “taxation without representation.” Landowners are being denied income from their land. In the near future, if the state mandates that 30 to 35 percent of the energy come from renewable resources, farmers and landowners may not have input in wind turbine placement and may not be compensated for them.
Both sides of wind energy are frustrated with the inconsistency of the Huron County Board of Commissioners. Instead of using the processes that have been approved, they are flip-flopping their positions and adding new requirements at every chance. They are creating exclusionary and spot zoning.
John Nugent votes to pass the Lincoln overlay at the planning commission level, then says it is not in compliance at the board of commissioners level. David G. Peruski helped for two years write the overlay and wind ordinances at the planning commission level but now votes for stricter standards on just wind energy. Wruble is creating the same fiasco as is in Meade Township with his five-year wind moratorium. Green energy is the future, and the Board of Commissioners and the Lincoln Township Board are wasting a lot of the taxpayer’s money with their unlawful tactics.
Robert and Arlene Schipinski
Final Thoughts on Non-Homestead Farmland
Several things must be weighed in deciding the best plan regarding growth in agricultural-zoned areas. Residents here for years don’t want their family farms turned into corporate farming operations. Expanding agricultural zoning could be a choice. There is a lot to consider, which includes how much land is to be used for industrial wind turbines versus how much land is to be used for agricultural purposes, as well as how locally grown food can benefit its consumers and help counter the negative effects of globalization.
The letter states explicitly the Schipinskis felt that their home was not like a homestead and that they bought a house where they live (in Mount Pleasant), but they are pro-wind and anti-wind. They suggest farmland owners are being taxed too much to fund the wind project.