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Commission sets zoning proposal

Differing from a suggestion submitted by the Ellis County Joint Planning Commission last month, Commissioner Perry Henman proposed a 10-times-the-tip-height setback from rural dwellings in order to eliminate the need for noise regulations in wind energy conversion systems. "If we do that, I would be satisfied if the county didn't regulate noise," Henman said.

A 10-times-the-tip-height setback from rural dwellings was the final proposal from Ellis County commissioners Monday night as they considered zoning regulation changes for proposed wind projects.

Commissioners expect to meet with County Counselor Dennis Davidson on Monday to define terms in the changes and eventually reach a final consensus to implement the changes.

Differing from a suggestion submitted by the Ellis County Joint Planning Commission last month, Commissioner Perry Henman proposed a 10-times-the-tip-height setback from rural dwellings in order to eliminate the need for noise regulations in wind energy conversion systems.

"If we do that, I would be satisfied if the county didn't regulate noise," Henman said.

On 400-foot wind turbines, the setback would equate to just less than a mile. Landowners could opt to have turbines closer to their homes through the conditional-use permit application process, Henman said.

"I think it's a lot better for the developer to deal with these people up front," Henman said.

He said he believed noise regulations could drive developers away more than large setbacks like that proposed Monday night.

The setback would allow for residences in the project area to be... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

A 10-times-the-tip-height setback from rural dwellings was the final proposal from Ellis County commissioners Monday night as they considered zoning regulation changes for proposed wind projects.

Commissioners expect to meet with County Counselor Dennis Davidson on Monday to define terms in the changes and eventually reach a final consensus to implement the changes.

Differing from a suggestion submitted by the Ellis County Joint Planning Commission last month, Commissioner Perry Henman proposed a 10-times-the-tip-height setback from rural dwellings in order to eliminate the need for noise regulations in wind energy conversion systems.

"If we do that, I would be satisfied if the county didn't regulate noise," Henman said.

On 400-foot wind turbines, the setback would equate to just less than a mile. Landowners could opt to have turbines closer to their homes through the conditional-use permit application process, Henman said.

"I think it's a lot better for the developer to deal with these people up front," Henman said.

He said he believed noise regulations could drive developers away more than large setbacks like that proposed Monday night.

The setback would allow for residences in the project area to be within World Health Organization noise standards of 40 decibels, according to Commissioner Glenn Diehl.

"I think we have a sufficient setback to meet those guidelines and we're done," said Diehl, who has been an advocate for noise standards throughout the zoning regulation change process.

Also, commissioners, at the advice of Davidson, likely will drop the use of terms "participating" and "non-participating" when referring to rural homes in wind projects. Henman said the setback should be sufficient for both.

"Everyone's treated the same," Henman said.

Another sticking point Monday night was Henman's suggestion to govern correlative rights on the edges of wind projects. He proposed a 1.5-times-the-tip-height setback from turbines on the east and west boundaries of the project and a 3-times-the-tip-height setback from turbines on the north and south edges.

"That way (neighbors) aren't stealing your wind," Henman said.

Diehl said he agreed with the idea that was based on wake turbulence extrapolated from Hays Wind LLC's proposed locations of wind turbines in its project southwest of Hays.

"I would think that most people in this county that want wind farms would want that protection," Henman said.

Other regulation changes regarding wind projects agreed to by at least Henman and Diehl include:

* A 2,000-foot notification and protest petition area for commercial wind energy conversion system applications. Diehl said in Hays Wind LLC's most recent application, the difference between 1,000 and 2,000 feet was the notification of two residences.

"I don't think that's a huge burden for two more people for that extra 1,000-foot," Diehl said.

* A 1.5-times-the-tip-height setback from major public roads in the county and a 1.1-times-the-tip-height setback from lower maintenance and lower traffic roads.

* A 1.5-times-the-tip-height setback from railroads.

* A 3-mile setback from incorporated cities including Victoria and Schoenchen, which do not have buffer zones now.

* A 1.5-mile setback from rural plats and developments, pending a clear definition of those areas in the county.

Also, commissioners likely will use a 1.5-times-the-height setback from major roads for telecommunications towers and a 1.1-times-the-height setback from lower maintenance and lower traffic roads.

Commissioners will discuss the changes again Monday.


Source: http://www.hdnews.net/Story...

APR 20 2010
http://www.windaction.org/posts/25799-commission-sets-zoning-proposal
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