Zoning/Planning and North Carolina
Pamlico County commissioners voted down a proposed tall structures ordinance Monday that would govern wind farms and communication towers.
The split 4-3 vote came after a public hearing ...While the wording covers towers, the gist of the ordinance was aimed at potential wind turbine farms, which were first proposed in Pamlico County this past August.
Bob Martin and Josh Hendrick, the only supervisors attending the meeting, agreed to recommend the public hearing during the board of supervisors' next scheduled meeting on June 11. The hearing should be advertised "at least 30 days," said Martin, and Hendrick concurred.
The Senate's Finance Committee had approved a version of the bill that included rules for permits to build wind farms in the N.C. mountains on Tuesday. But in floor debate Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Steve Goss, D-Watauga, attempted to amend the bill to allow more wind development in the high country.
State senators came to no conclusion today about whether to keep windmills from lining mountain ridges. ...After Democrats huddled privately, the bill was sent back to the Senate Agriculture Committee for more work.
Local and global environmental worries ran into each other Wednesday on the floor of the state Senate.
"It's a competing environmental issue," state Sen. Joe Sam Queen told fellow senators, "developing alternative wind energy and preserving the beauty of the mountains."
Senate Democrats from Western North Carolina sparred over whether windmills should be allowed to line ridge tops.
The prospects for harnessing the winds whipping across a mountain ridge in Mitchell County depend on which way the wind blows in the General Assembly.
Some lawmakers want to create a permit process for wind farms in the mountains, while others want to ban such clusters of windmills from ridges.
Officials say they are poised to lure a wind-energy company and its green jobs to Spruce Pine if legislators open the door.
The measure, approved by the agriculture, environment and natural resources committee, requires permits for windmills on the coast. Wind is part of a 2007 state law that mandates increased production from renewable energy sources.
But mountain turbines were dropped, said Sen. Charles Albertson, who sponsored the measure, because some lawmakers worried about the effects on tourism and aesthetics.
State lawmakers held off voting Tuesday on a proposal to ban wind power development in the mountains of western North Carolina. The delay was met with relief by wind power advocates who harbor dreams of erecting windmills in the Appalachian mountains, home to some of the best wind energy resources in the nation.
Legislation to get consideration today would restrict wind turbines on ridge tops from being more than 35 feet tall, a cap opponents said would kill a budding industry. ...Ridge-top protections in North Carolina date back to 1983 when all 25 mountain counties adopted rules banning tall structures on ridges 3,000 feet or higher.
And there are still plenty of people in North Carolina who believe harnessing the coast's winds holds great potential to meet at least part of the state's future energy needs.
But any proposal to build an offshore wind farm today would run into an obstacle that could be a tougher challenger than the economics of cheap oil and not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) protests.
It's taken nine months of public hearings, multiple drafts and countless e-mails of information, but Carteret County finally has an ordinance regulating wind turbines and communication towers. ...The ordinance allows utility-scale turbines up to 550 feet tall and requires a setback of 6 feet for each foot of height - a maximum setback of 3,300 feet. The ordinance also addresses noise from turbines and shadow flicker and has separate standards for turbines under 200 feet tall and for private residential turbines.
The long-awaited tall structures ordinance that will regulate wind turbines and communication towers in the county is set to receive a vote Monday night from the County Board of Commissioners.
The board will hold its monthly meeting at 6 p.m. in the boardroom of the administration building. ...The tall structures ordinance has been in the works since March, when commissioners approved a nine-month moratorium on tall structures, such as windmills, in response to a proposed wind farm in the Down East community of Bettie.
With lots of information still to digest, materials to read and some changes to be made, the County Board of Commissioners took no action Tuesday night on the proposed tall structures ordinance that will regulate wind turbines and communication towers in the county. ...The public hearing follows months of other public meetings held by the County Planning Commission during the development of the ordinance. A nine-month moratorium was approved in March following concerns of wind farm proposal in the Down East community of Bettie.
Carteret County planners were hit with both praise and criticism this week as work continued on a draft ordinance that would regulate wind turbines and other tall structures in the county.
A resident who has followed the development of the ordinance closely and called for provisions protecting the public's safety defended the results of their work. ..."It is not the planning commission's responsibility to find an acceptable location for utility-scale wind turbines in our county if none exists. They are, however, responsible for making sure utility-scale turbines stay out of unacceptable locations."
The County Planning Commission was able to finish Thursday reviewing the wind turbine section of the draft tall structures ordinance but still has to go over the communication towers portion.
The commission agreed during its special meeting in the boardroom of the administration building to keep the maximum setback for the tallest of utility-scale wind turbines at 3,300 feet. And after three hours of deliberation, the board was ready to make a recommendation on the wind turbine section to county commissioners with only one significant change regarding wind speed.
The County Planning Commission is due to take on the draft tall structures ordinance again Thursday, but a Down East property owner who has a proposed wind farm waiting in the wings says the newest setback regulations for utility-scale wind turbines are too constraining.
The planning commission meets at 5 p.m. Thursday in the boardroom of the administration building in hopes of approving a recommendation for the tall structures ordinance, which addresses wind turbines and communication towers, to forward to the County Board of Commissioners before the moratorium on tall structures expires in November. ...The draft originally put setbacks at 1,600 feet or 2.5 feet times the height of the turbine, whichever is greatest, for turbines between 200 and 550 feet tall.
With the 3,300-foot-setback, seven properties in eastern Carteret County would still be able to have several utility-scale wind turbines, according to a map compiled by the County Planning Department. Those properties include Luken's Island Timber, Weyerhaeuser Co., Open Grounds Farm, N.C. Coastal Federation, United States of America and more.
The wind turbine section of the county's draft tall structures ordinance is going back to the planning department for changes in setbacks for utility scale turbines, waivers and more after a thorough reading Thursday night by the County Planning Commission.
The issue garnered mixed feelings from the public during the planning commission's special meeting in the boardroom of the administration building, as some supported the draft ordinance and the proposed setbacks in it while others felt their earlier comments regarding human health near wind turbines "fell on deaf ears."
Currituck planners decided Tuesday to uphold the county's new wind energy ordinance and oppose a request to exempt small wind turbines from setback requirements.
Dean Karico of East Coast Windpower asked the Currituck Planning Board to recommend approving a text amendment ...that exempts small-system wind turbines from property line setbacks.
The current ordinance allows small-scale residential turbines, up to 120 feet in height, on lots at least 20,000 square feet. However, the turbine must be set back from property lines by one foot for each foot of the structure's height.
A complete version of the draft ordinance regulating wind turbines and communication towers was presented Thursday to the County Planning Commission, and while the ordinance now addresses noise, shadow flicker and more, there are still several steps to go before the draft is proposed to county commissioners.
Planning Commission Chairman Harry Archer said now that a significant amount of research has been done and an initial draft has been developed, comments obtained during three public comment meetings recently will be used to modify the draft.