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Lax wind turbine rules stir debate

County planners aren't supporting Portage Township's attempt to relax wind turbine rules for residents. Portage Township Trustees have proposed changing its current zoning regulations on electric-generating wind turbines in residential districts to make them more accessible, said Portage Township Trustee Jack Stables.

PORTAGE TOWNSHIP -- County planners aren't supporting Portage Township's attempt to relax wind turbine rules for residents.

Portage Township Trustees have proposed changing its current zoning regulations on electric-generating wind turbines in residential districts to make them more accessible, said Portage Township Trustee Jack Stables.

"With the energy situation the way it is, we don't want to limit anyone," said Stables.

Ottawa Regional Planning Commission Director Todd Bickley said the proposal would allow homeowners to install low-impact wind turbines in areas where they are currently not allowed.

"They're looking to have R-2 and R-3 property owners allowed to have them," Bickley said.

Bickley said his office has recommended the Portage Township Zoning Commission not adopt the relaxed wind turbine regulations.

"The recommendation of the ORPC by a vote of 10 to 8 is for disapproval." said Bickley. The commission voted on the issue at its meeting Tuesday.

Bickley said he doesn't think recent wind turbine troubles in the area were a factor in the vote.

In February, a turbine at Perkins High School in Erie County fell apart in high winds. A witness told investigators... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

PORTAGE TOWNSHIP -- County planners aren't supporting Portage Township's attempt to relax wind turbine rules for residents.

Portage Township Trustees have proposed changing its current zoning regulations on electric-generating wind turbines in residential districts to make them more accessible, said Portage Township Trustee Jack Stables.

"With the energy situation the way it is, we don't want to limit anyone," said Stables.

Ottawa Regional Planning Commission Director Todd Bickley said the proposal would allow homeowners to install low-impact wind turbines in areas where they are currently not allowed.

"They're looking to have R-2 and R-3 property owners allowed to have them," Bickley said.

Bickley said his office has recommended the Portage Township Zoning Commission not adopt the relaxed wind turbine regulations.

"The recommendation of the ORPC by a vote of 10 to 8 is for disapproval." said Bickley. The commission voted on the issue at its meeting Tuesday.

Bickley said he doesn't think recent wind turbine troubles in the area were a factor in the vote.

In February, a turbine at Perkins High School in Erie County fell apart in high winds. A witness told investigators that after one blade fell off, the other two banged against the tower and fell to the ground. No one was injured in that incident.

Stables, however, said he thought that case might be a factor. He added he thought the risk is blown out of proportion.

"About 95 percent of windmill-related fatalities happen when workers building or working on them fall off," said Stables.

He said a turbine in Catawba Township helps run a bed and breakfast and one on Ohio 163 near the Erie-Ottawa Regional Airport helps power a home.

"That one's been up three or four years with no problem," Stables said.

Ottawa County Commissioner Jim Sass, who lives in Portage Township, said he doesn't have a problem with the proposed changes.

"I think there's a lot of interest in them and I think the trustees just want to be proactive," he said.

Stables said the township zoning commission will consider the ORPC's recommendation and discuss the issue at the trustees' regular meeting March 23.


Source: http://www.portclintonnewsh...

MAR 20 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/19491-lax-wind-turbine-rules-stir-debate
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