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Clarke planners are studying wind power

The three-member committee, appointed in May by the Planning Commission, has drafted a text amendment regulating the installation of wind turbines for residential use that could come before the commission in the fall. The amendment will have another committee review and could be on the commission's September agenda to set a public hearing, county Natural Resources Planner Alison Teetor said this week.

Members of the wind committee of the Clarke County Planning Commission have been fact-finding about the uses, types, and impact of wind turbines.

The three-member committee, appointed in May by the Planning Commission, has drafted a text amendment regulating the installation of wind turbines for residential use that could come before the commission in the fall.

The amendment will have another committee review and could be on the commission's September agenda to set a public hearing, county Natural Resources Planner Alison Teetor said this week.

As energy prices rise, demand for alternative energy sources is likely to grow, she said.

A regulation would minimize safety concerns and lessen the negative impact on neighboring property owners, Teeter said.

On July 15, committee members traveled to Hampshire County, W.Va., and Warren County to see renewable energy systems installed by Charles Bigelow's Boyce-based Light Speed Power Inc.

Members of the committee also attended the June 18-19 State Wind Symposium at James Madison University in Harrisonburg.

They saw a wind turbine installation demonstration by Richmond-based Chesapeake Renewable... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Members of the wind committee of the Clarke County Planning Commission have been fact-finding about the uses, types, and impact of wind turbines.

The three-member committee, appointed in May by the Planning Commission, has drafted a text amendment regulating the installation of wind turbines for residential use that could come before the commission in the fall.

The amendment will have another committee review and could be on the commission's September agenda to set a public hearing, county Natural Resources Planner Alison Teetor said this week.

As energy prices rise, demand for alternative energy sources is likely to grow, she said.

A regulation would minimize safety concerns and lessen the negative impact on neighboring property owners, Teeter said.

On July 15, committee members traveled to Hampshire County, W.Va., and Warren County to see renewable energy systems installed by Charles Bigelow's Boyce-based Light Speed Power Inc.

Members of the committee also attended the June 18-19 State Wind Symposium at James Madison University in Harrisonburg.

They saw a wind turbine installation demonstration by Richmond-based Chesapeake Renewable Energy at the symposium, and heard presentations about wind power generation.

The group has also met with Bigelow to discuss installations and amendment drafts.

"I think probably the goal from the beginning was to figure out if we need any ordinance, and if we do, [to] get enough information so we can appropriately make an ordinance governing wind turbines for residential use," said committee member Kathy Smart.

She said hybrid solar and wind power installations are attractive for residents interested in renewable energy, taking into account the county's geography.

"Quite frankly, if you think about it, except for the very top of the mountain, we don't have a very hugely wonderful wind," she said. "You'd be hard-pressed to provide all of your energy needs in most of Clarke, but in combination with a solar array, they kind of work symbiotically."

Smart said she has been interested in alternative energy for her farm, which prompted her to discuss wind power with the commission six to eight months ago.

"If we are going to start encouraging this, I knew we need to start thinking - do we need regulations?" she said.

Teetor said the draft amendment could call for a property setback for an installation equal to the height of a wind turbine pole.

Height restrictions also are being discussed, Smart said.

"That's one of the things we have to firm up," Teetor said, during the committee review.

She said the committee was discussing turbines as a permitted use, as long as they met the setback and height requirements.

Above the height limit, the installations could require a special-use permit.

 


Source: http://www.winchesterstar.c...

AUG 16 2008
http://www.windaction.org/posts/16559-clarke-planners-are-studying-wind-power
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