Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from California
A third problem is the bill’s requirement that the federal government sell wind leases off the California coast within a year of enactment. While wind farms can be a good source of renewable energy, they are just starting to be sited in the ocean — with none yet off the coast of California. Wind farms should not be arbitrarily rushed into existence, as this bill would do.
The East County Board of Zoning Adjustments' (BZA) 2-0 decision on March 24 approving Sand HIll Wind LLC's 12 new turbines to replace 433 old-style turbines has been appealed to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.
After hearing pleas from more than a dozen Antelope Valley residents, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors took preliminary steps Tuesday to ban utility-scale wind turbines in unincorporated areas of the county. The supervisors unanimously approved a draft Renewable Energy Ordinance that updated permitting and regulations on small-scale wind and solar projects and utility-scale solar projects.
It's official: a wind power project that would have generated up to 250 megawatts of power with as many as 85 turbines in the San Diego County backcountry is off the table.
“We think it's really wise to take a precautionary approach,” said Dennis Rosatti, executive director of Sonoma County Conservation Action. The board agreed to revisit the issue in three to five years to determine whether the regulations need to be strengthened or relaxed based on the pace of actual green energy development.
San Diego County Supervisors are being sued over their May 15th approval of the technically and legally flawed Wind Energy Ordinance & Plan Amendment-that benefits wealthy industrial wind and solar developers, San Diego Gas & Electric, Sempra, and absentee land-owners at the expense of rural east county residents and valued resources.
After more than three hours of heated testimony on Tuesday, San Diego Supervisors opted to delay a decision on a controversial wind ordinance and changes to plans for two backcountry communities until May 15. The postponement came after a lawyer representing rural residents sent a last-minute letter claiming that approval of the project would be illegal.
"This was a total dog and pony show and not unexpected. We wanted protection from the intrusion of big energy within our community. And, we did not want industry and commercial property right next to our homes and communities," said Mesonika Piecuch who is against wind farms near communities.
But, residents near the turbines are worried they are back to Square One with no real zoning that might stop the wide expansion. At first, the maps were thought of as a hard line in the dirt where wind turbines could be built. But, the maps have since evolved to where they may be used only for guidance.
Commissioners voted 4-2 on July 20 to recommend changes that would affect, among other items, definitions and setback and height restrictions. The recommendation will be brought to the county supervisors, who are expected to review them this fall.
Lassen County District 3 Supervisor Larry Wosick said the only reason the planning commission denied the use permit application was because the met tower was considered "the gateway" to a project.
County supervisors today are scheduled to consider changes that tighten noise and size restrictions for small wind-energy installations. "We want to have some local control and not just rely on what the state thinks is appropriate for the county," said Noel Langle, a Santa Barbara County senior planner who is working on the amendments.
San Francisco may encourage wind and solar energy use equally, but the number of solar panel installations has doubled to more than 2,000 since a citywide incentive was drawn up 2 1/2 years ago. Meanwhile, the number of wind turbines remains in the single digits.
Included in the ordinance's environmental protections are requirements to conduct "biological and special-status plant" studies before construction of the energy system, as well as limitations of the system's height and noise emitted. For parcels between two and five acres, towers cannot exceed 50 feet.
San Bernardino County supervisors approved new height limits for wind turbines Tuesday despite protests from industry advocates who called the rules too restrictive. The limits were adopted as part of a group of land use code changes, including those affecting renewable energy projects. The ordinance reduces the maximum height for wind turbines from 120 feet to 100 feet for parcels larger than 5 acres.
Currently there is no municipal law governing noise in Crescent City, but over the past several months, as the Planning Commission has attempted to draft an ordinance for small wind energy systems, it was apparent that rules for noise were needed.
The regulatory agency has told a Santa Cruz County couple that a wind turbine planned for their new home in the Pleasure Point neighborhood is too tall. Suggesting it would add to the area's "visual clutter," the commission recommends the residents lower their proposed 35-foot-high, electricity-generating windmill, an idea the home's architect says is simply unworkable.
Despite the hoopla over renewable energy - media chatter, government rebates, neighbors who "go green" - the nuts and bolts of installing more Earth-friendly power sources often get stuck. San Diego County, for example, is wrestling with how to handle applications for using residential wind turbines. Critics say the approval process is confusing and drawn-out enough to discourage investment in green power, just as companies are moving to fill the home-windmill niche.
The Tehama County Planning Commission Thursday approved a use permit for a series of 330-foot meteorological test towers outside Mineral. With use permits issued for as many as five towers to test the feasibility of installing wind turbines, Padoma Windpower has been granted the authority to build and keep the towers on Sierra Pacific land for as many as 36 months.
A Crescent City wind ordinance seems to be as elusive as the breeze a turbine tries to catch. More than a year after the Planning Commission decided to write a new law that would allow small wind energy systems within city limits, the board delayed taking a final vote on the proposed guidelines to allow more time for revisions. "They have some lingering concerns about setbacks and noise," Crescent City Planner Michele Rambo said.