Zoning/Planning or Kansas
The Boone County Board is considering a zoning ordinance that would permit wind turbines as close as 1,000 feet of adjacent property.
That is a far cry from the current setback of 2,000 feet, which after numerous meetings of the Zoning Board of Appeals, three Boone County Board meetings and two years of litigation in the 17th Judicial Circuit Court, was deemed reasonable given the limitations to aviation, crop dusting and quality of life of adjacent property owners. ...An enterprise can be a good neighbor when it listens to its neighbors and makes adjustments accordingly. That is what a zoning ordinance should encourage, and no doubt does encourage for other industry. But why are wind projects any different?
Enfield is not the only town dealing with the many details related to wind turbines. Recently the Town of Ithaca temporarily shelved a law that would allow residential-scale wind energy facilities. That delay was caused after residents requested that the board reduce the noise threshold for a wind turbine to 5 decibels. The town was originally considering a threshold of a 10-decibel limit.
As Harvey told The Journal's Tim Ashmore: "Our planning board can coordinate with other planning boards as well. The Town of Ithaca is our neighbor. The Town of Newfield is our neighbor ... I would think that our planning board and all these other planning boards ought to get together and come up with one law."
I was at the Garrett County commissioners' June 24 public hearing on performance zoning, which can be used to prohibit industrial wind turbines on county ridgelines. Over two dozen residents spoke, many with raw emotion and obvious frustration over the lack of safeguards against this industry. Coming up with a way of regulating this now effectively unregulated industry should be a high priority with our elected officials. However, I am concerned that no one seems to be looking out for the property rights, health, and safety of those having to live or work next to such developments. ...Performance zoning would safeguard our basic human rights, our property, and our county's natural heritage from these intrusive, landscape-altering wind developments.
Nothing prevented Navitas from starting the project the past two years. Regardless, the BOA upheld the extension. The only item they took from the new wind ordinance was the ability to extend the project, clearly ignoring county requirements on wind turbine siting. It's a reckless decision that could prove costly again to taxpayers.
The terms of two BOA members expire in July. I expressed my dissatisfaction to the county executive. Again, he guaranteed they are good people.
They may be, but they become paralyzed when making hard decisions and lack direction as a board representing Manitowoc County.
When Allegany County planners begin studying how the county should regulate wind turbines, there should be plenty of examples of how best to proceed.
Communities in many parts of the nation have been grappling with windmill issues and how to balance environmental and aesthetic concerns with energy needs.
No better example can be found than in Garrett County, where there has been a huge outcry against placing windmills on state forests lands. ...
Wind power can be an important part of the energy mix of a community. But the county needs to proceed carefully, with residential and environmental protection a No. 1 priority.
There is an atmosphere of intimidation in this province stemming from the attitude that if you challenge or question the government or industry about a proposed alternative energy project, you are an opponent of renewable energy and have little regard for the future of this planet. The citizens of Wolfe Island who are questioning the wind-farm project are not against renewable energy. They are for environmental responsibility.
The town has already spent too much money fighting Ron Price's battles. If the town spends more money fighting the road issue on Ron Price's behalf, then place the blame where it belongs.
The residents of Beaver Hill did not ask for this to happen to us. We feel that we are entitled to at least some protection, and that the town has largely ignored our concerns.
If this project goes through, Freedom will have the distinction of being the only industrial wind turbine project ever carried out in the State of Maine without any standards whatsoever. Please vote yes to reinstate the Commercial Development Review Ordinance on June 10.
The neighbors of the proposed wind turbine project in Freedom are asking the voters of Freedom to reinstate the Commercial Review Ordinance at the June referendum, retroactive to the date of the repeal.
This is the only way to put some reasonable standards in force.
When the town voted to repeal the ordinance last year, we were told the Planning Board would write a new one. That has not happened. ...Consequently, we have no protection from noise, ice throw, strobe effect, no safety setbacks, no standards of any type.
These 400-foot turbines will be located only 350 feet from our property lines. We don't even have a fall zone, much less the safety setbacks recommended by turbine manufacturers.
It seems politicians of every stripe have a new buzzword to abuse. Preface any project or technology with the word "renewable," and it is almost guaranteed to generate automatic public support and popularity, even though it is invariably linked to some handout for big corporate interests. Powerful lobby groups representing private interest sectors are the primary beneficiaries of these policies, rather than the public interest. ...How renewable will our farmland be when thousands of acres of prairie are fragmented by access roads, power lines and wind turbine foundations?
How renewable will our precious rural ecology be when soil profiles are disrupted, native plant ecosystems damaged and wildlife driven off by the noise and intrusion of monstrous wind turbines?
Putting aside the merits and flaws of a proposal to build three, 400-foot-tall wind turbines on Beaver Ridge in Freedom, we have to ask: What the heck are local officials thinking?
On May 1, the town's Board of Appeals heard a request by opponents of the project to revoke a building permit issued to the developers in July 2007. The opponents said work had not "substantially commenced" within the six-month period required by local ordinance.
The appeals board ultimately rejected that argument ...But it did so with Dave Bridges, a vocal supporter of wind power, as acting chairman of the board.
The Zoning Board of Appeals made some important decisions last month (April 17th) based on verbal assurances from the developers. ...The skyline of our city is at stake, the protection of neighbors from catastrophe and the potential of wind energy to be a key part of the future economy of our city. Both our architectural legacy and wind energy are among the most important assets that we own as a city and that we share with each other. They are, in a sense, like our commons. We should have proof, before we give them away, that they will be used to their best advantage.
Illegal, unhealthful noise and devaluations of nearby property are only two of the many documented adverse consequences that flow out from massive wind installations. The Criterion project in particular will also devastate hundreds of acres of sensitive habitat, putting at risk much wildlife, some species of which are extremely vulnerable. The county commissioners endorsed this project last month without investigating what it would do to people and property here; this is a chilling take of how avarice overwhelms the common good. Pimping these beautiful mountains away for unsecured revenues represents values I neither understand nor respect.
Wind energy is not a local issue. Small towns and schools don't have the high-priced lawyers and experts to evaluate a project or fight on their behalf when payment in lieu of taxes agreements are inked. Nor do they have jurisdiction on projects that might be just over the town or district line. Before New York began its push for renewable energy, it should have funded objective research into the proper siting of wind towers. Surely somewhere between 1,000 feet and 1 1/2 miles is a setback that most people and wind energy companies can live with. ...State lawmakers manage to issue a press release on every headline of the day, from sex offender registries to a proposal for a gas-tax holiday. They are strangely silent on the gradual, haphazard implementation of wind utilities across the state. The time of leadership has come and nearly gone.
Who decided they could put this industrial wind project in a residential/agricultural area? We are taxed under a residential rate, but live in an agricultural area.
How can the wind company propose measuring distances for safety from noise from the corner of our residence instead of the property line? Nowhere else in any zoning laws does this exception apply.
Who gave them that right to use our backyard as their buffer zone? ...The cost of ``free'' wind doesn't figure into it the astronomical cost to upgrade the transmission lines. The utilities passed that cost on to us!
We ask that the board study the issues objectively and find their own answers through independent research. There are better choices instead of spending upwards of $200 million for this project. The money could be better spent on education.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation made the right decision in naming itself the lead agency on the Galloo Island Wind Project.
Upstate NY Power Corp.'s plan to build 77 turbines on the mainly undeveloped island will have a major environmental impact on the immediate area. But the wind towers, transmission line and infrastructure will affect the region as well. ...This sets an important precedent for other wind power projects being considered in the region and state. The DEC is most qualified to conduct such reviews. It has the expertise and financial resources to take an independent look at the local, regional and statewide implications of such ventures.
It is a question of nature versus need, and livelihood versus landscape. The Scottish Government's rejection this week of plans for Europe's largest wind farm on Barvas Moor, on Lewis, has shown there are many shades of green.
Only a few years ago, the merits of the Lewis Wind Power (LWP) scheme were trumpeted high and wide. ...Since then, however, environmentalism has come in for increasing questioning and paradoxes have been revealed. The rejection of LWP - to protect the fragile ecosystem of the Lewis Peatlands Special Protection Area - may be a taste of things to come. ..."Given the 'green on green' nature of the debate, opinion will doubtless remain divided over whether such a development would be a good, bad or indifferent development in Scotland."
Gov. O'Malley's decision to not allow wind turbines to be constructed on state forest lands was certainly good news for Garrett County. However, the fact that destruction of the last remaining bits of wilderness in Maryland was even seriously considered is a sad testament to how crazy the whole debate over wind energy in Western Maryland has become.
And let there be no doubt that wind developers will now be redoubling their efforts to construct ever-larger wind turbines on private lands wherever they can find landowners gullible enough to sign away their property forever and severely devalue their neighbors' property, for a few thousand dollars of annual rental income.
Since there are no regulations restricting the placement of turbines on private lands in Garrett County, and since the legislature in 2007 stripped away all Public Service Commission oversight, any wind developer, no matter how undercapitalized, incompetent, shady, or unscrupulous, may erect hundreds of turbines anywhere it chooses, at will.
This will become the fate of Garrett County if nothing is done locally to stop them. Fortunately, something can be done, if our public officials will only exercise the courage and good judgment their responsibilities of office dictate.
While we're sure the PDC has spear-headed many worthwhile ideas for Perry over the years, the immediate gratification mentality being displayed by the PDC in their pursuit of the quick buck in the case of wind is astoundingly short-sighted. The wind industry themselves says the life of a project may be 20 years. What then? ...A Bliss man recently told us that promises of reduced taxes for the area are also blown way out of proportion, as he's saving a whopping $54 a year compared to last year. ...What's really at stake here - that you simply can not put a price tag on - is peoples' quality of life! Sorry fellas, but our quality of life is NOT FOR SALE AT ANY PRICE! As environmentalist Jon Boone said, "Perhaps people would be willing to sacrifice their quality of life on the altar of 'green' energy if it actually worked as they claim."
Members of Chatham-Kent council who have expressed some hesitation about the proliferation of wind turbines within the municipality are right to be worried.
According to the municipality's planning consultant, Chatham-Kent could receive proposals to build as many as "650 to 700 additional turbines," although just 200 to 250 turbines in Chatham-Kent AND nearby Essex County can be supported right now by the electricity grid.
Yet a land rush mentality appears to be sweeping through those companies ...But wind energy won't solve all of our energy challenges. Interest in their development was only launched by the McGuinty government four years ago, after the Liberals had won the election and had promised to close Ontario's coal-fired plants by 2007. It was a decision made entirely because of political idealism.
It was a rash promise, but part of the public's imagination was piqued by the idea of harnessing the wind.