Dumpsters, Chickens, & Wind Turbines under Consideration by Holly Twp.

Dumpsters, Chickens, & Wind Turbines under Consideration by Holly Twp.

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Sept. 5, 2018)

Holly Twp, MI- The Holly Township Planning Commission is considering regulations for dumpsters, backyard chickens, and wind turbines.  Each discussion is still in the early stages, with staff working on research and drafting of ordinances.  And each will have public hearing before potential adoption. Discussion on each topic took place at the Sept. 4 Planning Commission meeting.


Currently there are no laws on the books in Holly Township regulating the placement or use of dumpsters, only to say that dumpsters are permitted during construction when there is an open work permit in place.

Some businesses and residents have had dumpsters placed on their property for regular trash collection, and the influx of bright green dumpsters has made them extra noticeable. Code enforcement has requested that the Planning Commission consider if an ordinance regulating the use of dumpsters might be practical.

Township Planner Mike Deem said “I don’t think it’s a direction we want to see everyone go, but there are situations when it’s appropriate.”

Options for a potential ordinance could include only allowing dumpsters in certain situations, requiring dumpsters to be screened so they are not visible from the road, and requiring a special land use permit so that they go through a public approval process.

Planning Commission Secretary Glen Mitchell cautioned that any ordinance should be well-thought-out.  “We gotta be careful what we do here,” Mitchell said.  “We could make it worse not better.”  He wondered if screening or placement would prevent trucks from accessing the dumpsters, and if eliminating dumpsters might result in having more cans which could be even less appealing.

Planning Commission Chairperson Tony Engelberg stated “I think there are reasons people need them, I just don’t think we need to have them sitting where you’re driving down our beautiful streets and ‘oh, there’s a big dumpster.”

Staff is expected to return with potential ordinance language, possibly later this month.


Currently residents in Holly Township cannot have chickens if their properties are less than 2.5 acres.  However, in the Village of Holly, residents are able to have up to six chickens in much smaller lots.

“I was shocked that some people living in our rural township could not have hens or get fresh eggs,” said Chairperson Engelberg who stated that he has four himself at his home within the Village of Holly.

The Commission voted to direct the Village Planner to present options for ordinance changes that would make it possible for those with smaller yards to have hens. Options will be presented in terms of how much regulation to place on coops, space, number of birds etc.

Commissioners seemed to be in agreement that there should be no free range chickens and no roosters. More information on potential provisions is expected to be presented later this month.


Another discussion at Tuesday’s meeting was of wind turbine regulation. Deem explained that wind turbines could be small enough to be used on a residence, or large enough for commercial use.  He spoke of driving up north where wind turbines are more common.  “They’re taller than the Statue of Liberty,” he said.  “You’re not going to screen them.”

Some considerations for an ordinance would include leaving enough of a setback in case they were to fall over, with most communities requiring a setback of 1 ½ times the height of the turbine.

He also stated that wind studies have been done in the area, and that commercial wind turbines tend to do better in the thumb of Michigan or the middle of the state where there are larger expanses of open land, but that smaller operations could be possible, as well as those for personal use.

Another point Deem made was that wind turbines could be equipped with lights that only come on when a plane is nearby, so the lights would not be on all night.

He also stated that an ordinance would have to include what would happen if turbines were built and then abandoned.  A potential draft ordinance is expected to be presented next month for the Commission to consider and for the public to weigh in on.


The Planning Commission also approved changes to the sign ordinance bringing it in line with a Supreme Court ruling that prohibits governments from regulating the content of signs as a matter of free speech.  Communities across the country have been revising their ordinances to reflect the change in law.


The Holly Hills Development continues to be a discussion of public comment, though no new information was presented at the meeting.

For more on the Holly Township Planning Commission visit the Holly Township Website.

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