MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE MIDLAND CITY PLANNING COMMISSION,

WHICH TOOK PLACE ON TUESDAY,

MARCH 11, 2008, 7:00 P.M.,

COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY HALL, MIDLAND, MICHIGAN

 

1.   Roll Call

PRESENT:  Brown, Eyre, Gaynor, Hanna, King, Kozakiewicz, Mead, Senesac and Svenson

ABSENT:    (none)

OTHERS PRESENT: Keith Baker, Planning Director; Daryl Poprave, Deputy Planning Director; Cheri King, Community Development Specialist; and 170 others

 

Motion by Mead, seconded by Hanna to dispense with the 9:30 meeting ending time.  Motion passed unanimously.

 

2.    Approval of Minutes

Moved by Senesac, seconded by Eyre, to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of February 26, 2008 as corrected. Motion passed unanimously.

 

3.   Public Hearing

 

a.    Site Plan No. 274 from Wilcox Professional Services, LLC on behalf of Mid-Michigan Energy, LLC, a request for site plan review and approval for an electrical generating station located at 4201 South Saginaw Road on 132.27 acres. 

 

Mr. Poprave showed an aerial photograph of the proposed site.  It is located north of S. Saginaw Road and west of Waldo Avenue.  It is on 132.27 acres of land, zoned Industrial B.  The zoning map shows the site is all Industrial B.  It is bounded on the north by Industrial B, on the south by the Caldwell Boat Launch.  The existing land use map shows the site is largely vacant with the exception of Gerace Construction to the west.  There are various residential properties to the east on Waldo Court and further down S. Saginaw Road.  There is residential development and a school to the southeast.  There were two zoning petitions to zone this larger parcel as it is today.  Ultimately, the City Council made the decision to zone this land to Industrial B on August 13, 2007.  Section 27.06 contains the standards for site plan review in the Midland City Zoning Ordinance.  The site plan shows the power generating facility, the coal pile to the east, the wetlands on the property, the detention ponds, the administration building and the maintenance building.  Adequate information has been provided which adheres to the provisions of the Midland Zoning Ordinance.  There are 11 structures being proposed as a part of this development.  This property has 3,418 existing trees.  The petitioner has chosen to preserve 1,771 trees and, utilizing zoning ordinance provisions, has amassed 2,391 “tree credits” which can be used to off-set the tree planting requirements.  One credit equals one tree.  Tree credits can only be utilized to off-set the required trees and cannot be applied towards required shrubs.  The general landscaping requirements require 731 trees and 45 new trees provided utilizing 687 tree credits.  Landscaping adjacent to S. Saginaw Road includes 104 trees and 832 shrubs being required.  31 Trees and 284 shrubs are provided, utilizing 73 tree credits.  584 shrubs must still be provided.

 

Landscaping adjacent to Waldo Avenue includes 36 trees and 288 shrubs required.  12 trees and 96 shrubs are provided, utilizing 24 credits.  192 shrubs must still be provided.  Landscaping berms are used in areas between existing trees.  The berming far exceeds the city standards.  Landscaping berms are proposed adjacent to both S. Saginaw Road and Waldo Avenue.  Section 6.05(B) requires that all perimeter landscaping be installed prior to construction commencing.  Industrial B lot size, setbacks and height restrictions include a 25 ft. front yard setback; they are 35 feet back.  The closest structure to the east property line must be 100 feet back.  The coal pile is 180 feet setback from the property line.  The cooling towers are 179 feet from the north property line.  There are no maximum height requirements in Industrial B.  There is no minimum lot size in Industrial B.  The minimum width is 430 feet.  A small section of floodplain exists on the south side of this property.  Wetlands are identified for mitigation throughout the site.  The flood plain is regulated by the City of Midland Planning and Building Departments, as well as the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. 

 

There is no noise ordinance in the City of Midland but the petitioner has provided the noise calculations as outlined in the acoustical report. 

 

Mr. Baker stated there are two access points to the site.  The northwest access is elevated over the internal rail line.  The southwest access is at grade and requires rail crossing.  The internal road network provides access to all sites.  The roads on the site meet the Midland Fire Department requirements.  The northwest access is for the public and to the administrative building.  The southwest access is for trucks and deliveries.  This road crosses the rail line and traffic may be interrupted due to rail traffic.  During the intervals when a train is present, blocking the Waldo Avenue rail crossing, an alarm will notify emergency responders that this access is closed to this site.  The northwest entrance has a single lane of ingress and two lanes for egress.  The southwest entrance has two lanes of ingress (one for construction traffic) and two lanes of egress.  Both entrances have dedicated right and left turn egress lanes.  There is a dedicated right hand turn lane from Waldo Avenue into the site to accommodate construction traffic. 

 

Pedestrian circulation – Public sidewalks are not required in industrially zoned property in the City of Midland.  Public sidewalks do not exist adjacent to the site.  Public sidewalks are not recommended.  Sidewalks are provided to facilitate travel between the parking lot and the administration building.  There is no public pedestrian access to this site.  Sidewalks are not recommended so as to limit potential vehicular and pedestrian traffic on the site.  There are 100 persons to be employed on this site during operation.  1,200 persons will be on the site at the peak of construction.  The site plan has identified 77 permanent parking stalls.  A maximum of 65 persons will be on the site at any one time.   Table 5.2 of the zoning ordinance regulates the number of barrier free stalls that are required and the number of van-accessible parking places.  The petitioner has estimated that, during the peak of construction, there will potentially be 1,200 people working on this site.  There will be 1,200 spaces available on the site in a temporary parking facility during the construction phase. 

 

Mr. Poprave identified that the storm water runoff is required to meet the City of Midland Engineering Department guidelines.  There are two main water detention ponds shown on this site plan.  In addition, two storm water permits must be obtained prior to starting the construction of this site.  Due to the size of the site, the MDEQ will also require a SESC permit. 

 

All exterior lighting shall comply with Section 3.12 of the zoning ordinance.  Internal street lighting is proposed.  The proposed lighting is compliant with the Zoning Ordinance.  Lighting at the perimeter of the site shall not exceed one foot candle.

 

The site plan contains both a water and a wastewater treatment facility on the site, as required by state law.  All outdoor refuse storage areas shall be screened in accordance with Section 3.15 of the zoning ordinance.

 

Mr. Baker showed a diagram of the location of the temporary parking that will be utilized during the construction phase.  There is a dedicated on-site wastewater treatment plant.  The site is subject to 15 different environmental permits.  The site is subject to five different outside agency permits relative to size, height, scale and type of development.  The local review process is restricted to zoning, site plan review, building permitting, soil erosion and sedimentation control and storm water management. 

 

The construction will take approximately four years to complete.  The first phase will include the rail bed, berms and landscaping.  The second phase will include temporary parking, material layout yard and temporary fire protection.  Additional phases will include widening and reconstruction of S. Saginaw Road and the reconstruction of the Waldo Avenue/S. Saginaw Road intersection.  Finally, the plant construction will be contained predominately within the project site.  The site is boarded by S. Saginaw Road on the west, Dow Chemical Corp. and the Salzburg Landfill on the east, Gerace Construction to the north and Waldo Avenue to the south.  There will be fencing provided around the entire perimeter of the site.

 

Signs are regulated by Article 8.0 of the Zoning Ordinance.  No signs are currently identified on the site plan.  Future location and permitting of signs can be handled through the City of Midland Building Department. 

 

With the exception of the areas of jurisdiction noted above for local review, the City of Midland does not have jurisdiction or regulatory authority over any aspect of the environmental impact of the proposed power plant. 

 

Contingencies include storm water runoff and detention systems are designed and constructed in accordance with Engineering Department requirements; exterior lighting shall comply with Section 3.12 of the Zoning Ordinance.  All roof and ground mounted mechanical equipment shall be screened in accordance.

 

Site Plan Review Process includes:

·         Planning Commission Public Hearing on March 11, 2008

·         Planning Commission deliberation on March 25, 2008

·         City Council review will occur on April 14, 2008.

 

Mr. Senesac asked if there is an FAA permit required on the stack.  Mr. Baker stated there is.  This will be done through MBS Airport.  Mr. Senesac asked about the construction and reconstruction of S. Saginaw Road at this location.  Mr. Baker stated there will be two separate phases, one to address the construction traffic and then one for the final layout of S. Saginaw Road. 

 

Ms. Brown inquired about the tree credits.  Mr. Poprave stated that trees over 12 inches in diameter equal one tree credit. 

 

The petitioner, Janet Vanderpool is the project manager representing Mid-Michigan Energy.  Michigan needs new baseload power in the state.  Michigan power plants average 50 years old.  It has been nearly 20 years since the last coal or nuclear baseload generation has been built in the state.  Approximately 3,500 MW of power generation is expected to be retired in the next 20 years.  Michigan’s consumers are increasing their demand for energy even as the economy continues to decline.  Midland based employers are also increasing their need for energy requirements to remain competitive.  The older coal plants could not be built under today’s technological requirements.  Coal burning energy is still a low cost source of energy.  The electrical output of the plant will be 750 megawatts.  They are proposing this plant to serve customers in Michigan and not those outside the state.  They are proposing investment of $1.9 billion.  This will produce an additional 141 jobs in Bay, Midland and Saginaw counties.  The plant will provide the City of Midland with a fiscal impact of $4.2 million per year.  They have worked to mitigate noise and landscaping.  The proposed site plan was designed to save as many wetlands and trees as possible.  They are proposing two entrances to the plant off S. Saginaw Road, including a left turn lane.  They have had many community meetings to inform the community of their intentions. 

 

Rich Fosgitt, Wilcox Professional Services, spoke on behalf of Mid-Michigan Energy Station.  The project location shows it is at the intersection of Waldo Avenue and S. Saginaw Road, bounded on the south by CSX Railroad.  All of the coal shipments will use this railroad.  The MCV cooling ponds and MCV power company is across the river to the southwest.  This site was selected as it is adjacent to the Saginaw Bay Southern Railroad.  There are existing electric transmission lines at the substation east of Waldo Avenue.  There is industrial zoning in the area, and they looked for a site that would have minimal environmental impact.  They are only impacting 2.5 acres of wetlands on the site of the 20 acres on the site.  They will be replacing it with six acres of wetlands for a total of 26 acres of wetlands on the site.

 

The railroad line is one of the main features of the site.  The train will immediately enter the site and circle the site without disrupting any traffic off the site.  All of the coal dumping will occur within a building to capture all the dust from the coal.  It will also be transported through a conveyor system that is enclosed and will retain any dust from the conveyance of the coal.  On the south end of the main building is all the pollution control equipment. 

 

Mr. Fosgitt showed several renderings of what the site looks like today and what the site will look like after the construction is completed.  There will be a new raw water connection up Waldo Avenue to Bay City Road, to receive raw water from the Saginaw/Midland Water Supply System.  There will be a new sanitary sewer lift station at Waldo Avenue and Saginaw Road with a forcemain to Centennial Drive.  There will be a new municipal water main on Saginaw Road.  The site will have its own internal fire protection system.  Storm and processed water will be discharged to the Tittabawassee River, which is adjacent to this property via the storm water detention system.

 

The Traffic Impact Study has basically four components.  There was the background data collection.  The main traffic impact will be the four-year construction period with the peak workforce of 1200 workers.  The plant operations will include 100 employees and approximately 40-50 trucks per day.  The north entrance does have an overpass to alleviate the impact of any rail traffic.  The Saginaw Road improvements will be done early in the construction phase.  It will begin by being widened to three lanes, providing for a left turn lane for construction traffic onto this site.  The proposed haul route will adequately handle the expected minimal volume of CCB-hauling vehicles from the plant. 

 

A noise impact study was done to see how this plant would affect the surrounding neighborhoods.  At Waldo Court, the existing sound level is 47.0 decibels.  The new level was estimated to rise to 51.1 decibels.  This is due to the fact that all the major operations are being conducted in enclosed buildings.

 

The train traffic will include trains of approximately 130 cars, which will come to the site every other day.  It will take approximately six to eight hours to unload the train and it will return to Wyoming once it is emptied.

 

Doug Mulvey, from St. Louis, Missouri, from LS Power, stated that each place coal is transferred, water sprays are used to control the dust that may be released as the coal is unloaded onto the piles.  There will be on average of 40 trucks of debris coming from the site per day carrying ash.  The height of the main building is approximately 285 feet tall.  The stack is estimated to be 480 feet.  They have requested a building envelope height of 500 feet, but they anticipate the stack will only be 480 feet tall.  The wastewater will be treated at the facility prior to the water being discharged into the Tittabawassee River. 

 

Comments in support of the petition:

 

Tom McCann, 3310 Jefferson Avenue, has been a resident of the City of Midland for 75 years.  He is in favor of this project because the city has suffered a setback in tax revenue from the industrial corporations in the community, for one reason.  Part of the taxes generated by this plant will also go to Midland County.  It is his understanding that this company will pay approximately $6 million per year.  Commercial and Industrial facilities do not require the quantity of services that residential customers do.  However, they do pay a significant amount of property taxes.  If you sit behind the exhaust of an automobile, you will die.  For years, Dow and Dow Corning had no emission controls whatsoever and we are still here.  There will be emissions from it, but it does not matter how you generate power, there are issues relating to that source.  There is nothing that has a positive effect that does not also have a negative effect.  For a viable economy to survive, you must have water and a renewable energy source.  We will have both of these in Michigan if we help promote the new sources of energy. 

 

Jim Kostrava, 4520 E. Ashman Rd, Midland, is speaking on behalf of the MidMichigan Innovation Center.  The MidMichigan Innovation Center is a business incubator to bring new businesses to this portion of the state.  We need additional energy sources to bring new industry and to keep existing industries in mid-Michigan.  Companies are looking for a certain quality of life.  They want to live in a place where they can prosper and raise their families.  This plant is going to be very environmentally friendly and provide a reliable energy source.  It is critical to our existing tenants as well as new industry who might like to relocate here. 

 

Jeff Sawyer, Auburn, Michigan, stated what he has read and studied about the new technology of coal burning plants is remarkable.  They have cleaned up their industry.  The last coal burning plant was built about 20 years ago and things have changed significantly since then.  He supports wind farms, but they will not supply enough energy to bring the industrial jobs to the area. 

 

Eldon Graham, 2625 Isabella Street, Midland, stated in the back of everyone’s mind is the question about environmental impact of this plant.  He is a chemical engineer and he has done a study of the proposed plant for the city of Midland.  He recommends the residents of the City of Midland, environmentalists, and employers all join hands to support the proposed plant.  The designers of this plant should be complimented for the design of this plan.  The location is ideal with respect to the underground strata and underground storage facilities to study the removal of carbon dioxide from environmental gasses.  He has studied wind power, geothermal power, and many alternative methods of producing power and he thinks it will take all these sources to provide the needed power for the future. 

 

Bill Egerer, 2912 Camberly Lane, be believes the process that has been set up with all the approvals required has provided a great deal of information to the community.  The petitioner and the city have been very forthright in providing information to the community.

 

John Nelson, 6804 Neiner Road, Edenville, stated he has seen all kinds of power options utilized in his years in Midland and he has always been proud of the fact that the city and county governments have always had the needs of its citizens at the forefront of their minds.  Midland has had several nicknames over the years.  This power plant will give our state and our city and county a leg up and it gives people a reason to plug into Midland.

 

Andy Weisbrodt, 1205 Crescent Drive, Midland, stated Michigan’s economy is one of the worst in the nation.  There are efforts in place to change that.  One of the items needed to bring more jobs to Michigan is the availability of adequate power for industrial facilities.  If this plant can get the 11 required permits from the MDEQ, he is in favor of this development.

 

Tom Perreault, 4808 Foster Road, Midland, works in Mt. Pleasant at an automotive manufacturing plant.  They experience about six power outages per year and all the systems shut down, lasting from 10 minutes to eight hours.  They are experiencing a lack of energy for their industry.  The automotive industry is called a “world class supplier” and what has been presented here could be called a “world class facility”.  We need to consider the fact that, when this plant becomes operational and some of the other places in the country shut down, those folks will come to Midland as an example of how to produce energy in a most efficient way and we will be a model to the nation of good clean energy production.

 

Scott Walker, Midland Tomorrow, 300 Rodd Street, stated Midland is a bright spot on the map of Michigan.  The amount of investment in Midland right now is not happening across the state.  Reliable, clean, affordable energy is necessary to sustain the growth of the economy of Michigan.  This is happening in Midland.  Energy cost is always a prime consideration for firms considering relocating plants across our country.  We have a prime opportunity to attract investment by providing affordable energy for the long-term energy needs of the state.  Midland Tomorrow has already had inquiries from other businesses due to the potential development of the Mid-Michigan Energy Plant in Midland. 

 

Wayne Crosby, 2313 Oakfield Drive, Midland, stated you can look at ways to kill a project or you can look at ways to solve the problems.  The technology is here and the coal plants proposed today are not the coal plants built 20 years ago.  If you are not moving forward, you are moving backwards.  Waiting for years destroyed the nuclear plant 20 years ago.  Can our children and grandchildren find work in this community?  Will there be jobs here in the future?  Please look at how to solve the problems, not how to kill a project.

 

Randy Oberson, 4915 Whisper Ridge, Midland, offered his support of this project.  The headlines in tonight’s Midland Daily News is that oil has hit another all-time high.  This project is a step in the right direction for this country in the provision of an affordable energy source.

 

David Kurtis, 4800 Perrine Road, stated economically, this project will have a long-term economic impact, both during the construction phase and in the future of the coal plant.  These jobs will also support other jobs in the community.  Mid-Michigan Energy shows a willingness to work with the community and the Zoning Ordinance.  As a recent person to Midland County, he has had the opportunity to choose where he wanted to live.  The forward thinking of this community is why he selected Midland.

 

Shawn Pnacek, 7102 Windstream Circle, spoke in favor of this plant.  He does not feel the MDEQ will issue any permits that do not meet their standards.  This plant will provide power for both of the largest employers in Midland, Dow Chemical and Dow Corning.

 

Joe Bevirt, 1211 Kingsbury Ct, stated this is an economic developers’ dream.  This will add a significant sum to our tax base and this is proven technology.  Right now, over 130 coal burning plants in the United States are burning low efficiency coal.  This low-cost energy will keep Midland growing and increase our tax base and benefit from the jobs it will create.

 

Sid Allen, Midland Area Chamber of Commerce, 1301 Evamar Drive, spoke in favor of this project.  The subject of tonight’s plan has been designed by experts in their field.  No one would suggest approval of this plan if it would endanger the lives of the people who live in this community.  This energy plant will bring jobs to this part of the state.  The Midland Area Chamber of Commerce encourages the approval of this site plan.

 

Mark McCann, 402 Lingle Lane, stated he is coming as a citizen of the City of Midland.  He believes Mr. Baker and Mr. Poprave have reviewed this plan.  If the plan meets the criteria of our ordinance and can meet the contingencies, then he is in full support of the plan.  He is also the president of the local AFL-CIO and he is looking to bring jobs that will pay a living wage to this area.  If these individuals are willing to bring industry to the City of Midland and pay a living wage, we should encourage that development.

 

Sheila Mesler, 2049 N. Dublin, spoke in favor of this development.  She is in favor of all forms of alternative energy.  They all need to be looked into and supported for the future of our world.  This is a viable solution and should be supported.  They have met the requirements of the site plan and this would be good for our economy.  Coal is a natural resource of this country.  Perhaps it will send a signal to other countries that we can do it right.

 

Jackie Moeller, 2684 Ashby Road, stated Midland has made a great deal of progress.  She has enjoyed seeing the Loons’ Baseball team come to town.  We want to keep growing, unlike Bay City and Saginaw.  We want to keep jobs in our community.

 

Lee Smith, 2015 Springwood Drive, is a native of Michigan.  He is retired from MCV and runs a local consulting firm regarding energy resources.  He requests the Planning Commission ask for additional information prior to recommending approval to City Council.  He would like information regarding the CO2 capturing ability and sequestration facilities for this plant.  LS Power has worked with this idea in a Texas facility.  CO2 is a pollutant and policy makers have agreed that this leads to global warming.  Last year, 15 coal plants were denied in the United States due to the fact that they could not come up with a use of their CO2 emissions. 

 

Paul Wietfeldt, 1410 Waldo Court, stated he approves of the plant because it will bring jobs to the area.  He has concerns about the traffic and has expressed them to LS Energy.  As a resident of that area, this plant looks to be one of the better plants he has seen.  Nuclear energy is a very hazardous prospect.  Coal is about the next best type of energy production.  He recommends approval as long as they do everything they have said they will do.

 

Steve Urbani, 2817 Dartmouth, we are selling ourselves short as members of the community.  We need wind and solar energy, and also conservation as alternative energy sources.  He is not willing to have 40 truck loads of ash to go to the landfill.  Having a hole in the ground in Wyoming so he can have electricity is not acceptable to him.  We can be a model to other communities about how we provide energy here in Midland.

 

Heather Cleveland-Host, 2811 Gibson St, stated that Midland residents have a lot of concern about this plant.  This whole process has gone quite rapidly.  Seven months ago, when she first heard about this project, she had many concerns about this plant.  She has three young children and she wants their lives to be healthy ones.  She wants their future to be carefully considered.  Many people will not be able to attend tonight to speak against this project.  She asked that the Planning Commission hold a second opportunity for public input prior to making a decision to go forward with this project.  She brought a map of the community showing where the proposed coal plant will be located.  In a 6-mile radius from the plant, all the schools in Midland are located in this area except one, which is Windover High School.  We all have children who go to schools that will be affected from the emissions of this plant.  She is also concerned for people who are down-wind and down-river from us who will be affected by these emissions.  When all the small levels of pollutants are added up, who will clean them up?  The problem with “small toys” is that they break.  Certainly new industry is good for the area, but not just any industry.  LS Power and Mid-Michigan Energy have other options they have invested in.  Why are they not bringing that to Midland instead?  Can their plants be modified to take us into the future instead of using old technology.  What will her children’s future be in Midland as we move into the future?

 

Lori Franson, 224 Helen Street, is a registered nurse.  Ms. Vanderpool did not mention that only one plant was recommended by an energy study for Michigan in the next 10 years.  Coal plants are being rejected left and right due to coal shortages, increased costs of raw materials, public health risks and investor risks.  There is currently legislation being introduced to require clean energy production – not coal burning plants.  This plant is ½ mile from a local elementary school with 200 children that is down-wind from the plant.  She is not sure how many coal burning plants are built within ½ mile of children’s playgrounds today.  The Agency for Toxic Substances released a study that children who play in contaminated areas can sustain permanent damage if they play constantly in these areas.  Is the City of Midland liable if children in this area sustain permanent damage as a result of this development?  She questions whether it is a “best practice” to put this development within 300 feet of an occupied residential dwelling.  This parcel is located directly adjacent to a dioxin contamination site.  She questions whether this is the kind of site you want to put the coal plant on.  She also has concerns about the placement of a pulverized coal power plant between two active dioxin contamination areas.  Has anyone taken a look at the elevations for the coal piles and detention ponds and how they were determined since there are no base maps for flood plain levels.  Storm water run-off would be a concern as this site lies between two dioxin contaminated sites.  A well map of the area shows one site with an arsenic contaminated area less than ½ mile from this site.  How is ground water contamination going to be prevented and how can this be determined with the lack of FEMA flood plain maps?  She questions why the Planning Commission did not require an Environmental Impact Assessment regarding the suitability of this property for coal plant development.  This is a 50-year commitment, not to be taken lightly.

 

Sarah Galt, 513 Stillmeadow Lane, expressed concerns that a pulverized coal fired plant is not the best use of this site.  Current laws have not caught up to science.  The fact that they will remove 90 percent of the mercury means they will release 10 percent into the atmosphere.  There may be increased landfill space needed and who would pay for that space?  She was surprised to hear that this is located so close to a school.  Four trucks per hour to the landfill sounds like a lot of traffic through the city.  She is concerned whether or not this is the best use of this land.

 

Janea Little, 1051 E. Pine River Road, is concerned about the boat launch.  Dow Chemical Company has a certain distance that their pollutants are allowed to dilute.  She wonders what the future plans are for the boat launch.  She is concerned what the run-off will be from this site.  Is the run-off being treated on site?  She would like local officials to look into this issue and not leave it up to the state.  She would also like to know what the water discharge temperature will be that will be released into the river.  What will happen to the Walleye fishing in this area if the water temperatures are raised to 80 or 85 degrees?  The American Lung Association is very concerned about coal burning plants and their emissions into the air that affect people with lung diseases, heart disease and diabetics.  She wants to know how much water is going into the river from this plant and what will happen during the times the river floods.  Will the DEQ permits cover the ash that is released into the atmosphere? This is a 50-year commitment so this is not a “transition” into the future.

 

Olga Fagan, 3206 Applewood Road, Midland, would like to know what the definition of “biomass zone” is.  Will bio-fuels be used?  If so, what are the consequences?  How does LS Power plan to comply with the regulations that state that 20% of our power must come from renewable power sources?  According to the site plan, there is a plan for 65 employees.  This will not make much of a dent in the employment of people in the community.  A report last year stated that the world’s reserves of coal have dropped by almost 1/3.  Where will the coal come from and how much will it cost in the near future?  Projections state that the price of coal will rise by about 1/3 in the near future. 

 

Marsha Gottesman, 3607 Jane Drive, is concerned because she does not have access to all the details she would like regarding this development.  How much more will construction costs rise for this project?  What is the cost of CO2 legislation regarding a plant like this?  Will Mid-Michigan Energy seek an exemption from the new CO2 legislation?  Who will get the power from this plant?  How much taxpayer money has already been spent in preparation to bring this plant here?  Why not spend that taxpayer money on more productive endeavors?  What percentage of costs will taxpayers pay if this site plan is not approved?

 

David Letts, 1879 W. Stewart Road, Midland would like to know how the coal will get to the plant?  How many decibels will the coal cars make?  Who will be responsible for maintaining the railroad tracks?  Would citizens in the area be informed of any improvements for safety?  At what speed would rail cars pass through intersections?  Would coal come to this plant from the local area or from some distant place?  How much coal would be burned each year? 

 

Denise McGrath, 1243 E. Chippewa River Road, is a nurse at a critical care environment.  She thinks if the health impacts of this site plan are not looked at very carefully, she will have additional work.  She is concerned about the noise, especially the difference between the 47 decibels and the 51.1 decibels.  The pictures we saw of this plant were taken in the summer time.  How will this look in the winter time when the leaves are not on the trees?  What about the dust from the coal piles?  One will be treated with surfactant.  What about the other two?  She does recognize that we need more and cleaner power.  Where will the assets come from for clean-up in 50 years?  Who will be responsible for this? 

 

Allison Wilcox, 5202 Sturgeon Creek Parkway, is a chemical engineer.  She finds Midland a great place to live.  In order to reduce CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, there needs to be carbon sequestration equipment.  Where would this be located?  Would they be suitable for this purpose?  If this is not located on site, where would it be located and how would it be transported?  Is the equipment used for CO2 sequestration reliable?  This project should include carbon dioxide sequestration, if approved.

 

Chris McMillan, 5815 Swede Avenue, stated there is a recent study put out that carbon emissions today will have much faster effects on our environment than previously anticipated.  We set our bar really high here with our excellent school system and our Dow Chemical Company.  Is this really the kind of commitment we want to make here?  He does not think it is.

 

Nancy Janoch, 1806 Wyllys Street, has questions about the waste generated by this coal plant.  She thinks there needs to be an environmental study done prior to the decision to locate this coal plant here.  What about soil borings?  What about ground water?  What are the city’s plans for dealing with this waste?  What are the plans for testing for air pollutants?  Who will do the regular analysis of ground water and who will make sure this is not a burden to taxpayers?  How will they monitor and publish that information to the community?  Is the City of Midland going to monitor these emissions and waste?  Who pays to keep the daily landfill logs and the additional monitoring required?  Will this be another burden on taxpayers?  Will there be systems to collect any migration of waste from this site?  Will the hazardous chemicals released from the stacks have an effect on our landfill?  Does the city have a legal agreement that will stop a problem when it is identified and affects our residents?  Who will be responsible for the cost of clean-up of the site when it is eventually abandoned?  Is there a legal agreement in place?  Forty trucks of landfill will be sent to the landfill each day.  Who will pay for these trucks?  Who pays for the transportation?  How much will City of Midland taxpayers pay for the waste of this plant alone?  Alternative energy sources are available now. 

 

Suzette Zelenak, 4309 Brambleridge, has been a Michigan resident all her life and is a nurse.  Has the city obtained a PILOT to cover the cost to the city during the 16 years of tax abatement to this plan?  What additional emergency equipment is LS Power willing to provide to the city?  Where will this be located?  There is nothing in this site plan to address emergency evacuation of residents in this area in case of emergency.  Given that coal itself has a high risk of spontaneous combustion, what emergency plan is in place to protect the residents of this area?  If there is a train derailment or truck accident, what arrangements have been made?  How will the public be notified of the road closure when a train blocks a road?  Will the city be responsible for deaths or injuries that result from the delays in getting people to health care due to road closures from the trail?  Who will be responsible when the intersection of Waldo Avenue and Saginaw Road are covered with ice due to the spray from this plant?  What are the plans for discharge during events at the Dow Diamond?  It is her understanding that Dow holds back emissions during events at the Dow Diamond.  It is obvious that there will be a significant safety impact to the residents of Midland if this site plan is approved.  If they do not receive all the permits required, who will clean up their mess?

 

Daryl Zelenak, 4309 Brambleridge, is a local physician and has concerns about health and safety issues related to the coal fired plant.  During the rezoning process, Mr. Senesac asked Mr. Baker if the Planning Commission had any control over health and safety issues related to a site plan and Mr. Baker stated that they did.  These particulate matter can get into the body and into the lungs just by breathing them.  What about the larger particulate matter coming from the coal cars on the railroads?  These will pass a school during daylight hours.  When are the children at the school – during daylight hours.  This site plan would put 108 pounds of mercury into the air each year that we would breathe.  Jobs are great for our local economy.  He is in full support of having more jobs in this area.  However, this is not the kind of jobs we want in our community.  The health impacts of this plant are a part of the job of the Planning Commission and they should be looked at seriously.

 

Janet Vanderpool, representing the petitioner, stated she knows there were many questions asked by the public tonight.  They will address the issues in writing prior to the next meeting.  However, there are two issues she would like to address tonight.  First, there are no costs that will have to be borne by the city on their behalf.  Secondly, global warming is a national and world issue.  Until we have additional information about this size plant, she does not feel this should be dealt with at a local level.  They are supporting a study in Texas regarding some testing regarding this issue.  They would like to have some additional solid evidence to present prior to making a final decision.

 

The public hearing is closed.

 

4.   Public Comments (not related to agenda items)

 

      None

                                                                     

5.   New Business

 

      None

 

6.    Old Business

 

      None

 

7.    Communications

 

Planning and Zoning News

 

8.  Report of the Chairperson  

 

    None

    

9.    Report of the Planning Director

 

None

 

10.  Adjourn

Adjournment at 11:55 p.m. was unanimously approved.

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

Keith Baker, AICP

Planning Director

 

MINUTES ARE NOT FINAL UNTIL APPROVED BY THE PLANNING COMMISSION