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Powell Township bans rocket launch sites under new resolution

POWELL TOWNSHIP, MI— A plan for building a spaceport in Powell Township has been found to be illegal by the Powell Township Board.

Tuesday night, the group unanimously adopted a “Resolution of the Powell Township Board Regarding Rocket Launch Sites, Spaceports, and Related Structures and Activities.” It says under the township zoning ordinance, the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association plan to build a 2,892-acre rocket launch site at Granot Loma near Thoneys Point is legally prohibited.

The board found the proposal for the spaceport would be “illegal spot zoning” and “inconsistent with the current and future land uses and planning goals as defined in the Master Plan of the Township.”

Big Bay resident Phil Bakken had filed a petition to amend the township zoning ordinance to ban spaceports/rocket launches at Granot Loma. He and the group Citizens for a Safe and Clean Lake Superior, which opposes the launch plan, consulted with the township attorney. They agreed an official resolution by the township would be more forceful and effective than a zoning amendment. Bakken’s petition was withdrawn, as the spaceport facility would already be prohibited within Powell Township under the terms of the current zoning ordinance.

CSCLS is applauding the township resolution. Group President Dennis Ferraro said, "This official Resolution is an important policy statement by the Township officials. It mirrors and expresses the values and the will of their citizens and all of the citizens of Marquette County, and beyond, making it clear that this type of destructive industrialization of our precious freshwater coast will not be tolerated.”

The Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association has not commented.

Nicole was born near Detroit but has lived in the U.P. most of her life. She graduated from Marquette Senior High School and attended Michigan State and Northern Michigan Universities, graduating from NMU in 1993 with a degree in English.