Library filed under Zoning/Planning from Iowa
Now that Iowa now has more than 3,200 wind turbines and ranks No. 1 in the nation for the share of electricity coming from wind energy, counties are getting tougher about where turbines are built, how much noise they make and how much they disturb nature.
Applications for two proposed wind farms will go before the Story County Board of Adjustments at its meeting Wednesday.
On Jan. 1, a new Wisconsin state law took effect that wind energy advocates call an important step - and even a national model - for alleviating the chaotic and shifting patchwork of municipal and county siting regulations that can create great uncertainty and moving goalposts for wind developers.
Council member Brian Sokol told the Toledo City Council he was seeking input for an ordinance regulating wind turbines in the city of Toledo. ...the council voted to form a committee to research the topic of residential wind turbines and provide input for an ordinance to regulate them.
The amendment alters maximum tower height from 100 feet under the previous ordinance to 65 feet for lots between 1 acre and 3 acres in size, 80 feet for lots between 3 acres and 7 acres in size, and 100 feet for lots larger than 7 acres in size. It also specifies than any earthen berm, terrace or retaining wall used to elevate the turbine be considered a part of the turbine itself.
While interest in generating wind energy has grown among Iowa's urban dwellers, many are finding their local zoning regulations make it hard or impossible to install one. 'Some are opening up to 60-foot heights, so you can put a residential turbine in place, but it's still a battle,' said Rob Hach with Anemometry Specialists Inc.
The Plymouth County Zoning Board is shaping a county ordinance that will determine where and how wind turbines can be built and maintained. "The reason we're working on this is we think the county should have something in place before the windmill field and windmill companies come in and decide to build," said board chairman Ralph Klemme.
"One of the things that we're looking at as a part of this overall rewrite is should we allow wind turbines? And if we do, how do we allow wind turbines within city limits?" said Spirit Lake City Administrator Mark Stevens. "We have the desire to help people move toward energy efficiency and sustainability, but we have to counter this with concerns over property values, aesthetics and safety"
MidAmerican Energy won a battle Thursday over who will reap more power and profits from Iowa's wind. The Iowa Utilities Board approved the Des Moines utility's request to build wind farms producing 1,001 megawatts of power. The board rejected arguments that such an expansion would give MidAmerican an advantage over rival wind producers in attracting investors and would slow further wind energy development in Iowa.
No wind farms have yet moved to Plymouth County, but the county zoning board doesn't want to be caught unaware. The board met last Monday to start hashing out requirements should anyone propose to build a wind turbine farm in the county. ...The zoning board also discussed banning wind farms in the Loess Hills, an option several board members supported.
The moratorium, expected to last three to six months, would give city officials time to craft an ordinance and work together with other cities to create a consistent ordinance to govern the use of wind turbines in the metro. Currently, Clive city officials know of only one resident, Kevin Babb, who plans to install a wind turbine.
Growing interest in wind power has prompted Des Moines-area leaders to consider a uniform ordinance to provide consistent regulation of small-scale wind energy turbines in residential areas. Rules currently vary among Iowa cities on whether residents can add wind turbines on their properties. Some cities have banned turbines, while others regulate their size. Others do not allow turbines on small lots, but do on larger parcels. Members of the Metro Advisory Council, a group of elected officials, recently decided to examine how best to handle wind power projects.
Three members approve, but two absent leaders still have to vote. Waukee became the latest Iowa city to address wind power on Monday, when its City Council voted on an ordinance that would allow wind turbines in only a few areas within city limits. ...The ordinance will require two more votes before it can take effect.
Because of growing trend, city wants to make ordinance more detailed; it will be voted on later this month. Johnston is the latest in a list of Des Moines area cities to consider regulations related to construction and use of wind turbines. ...Councilman Gerd Clabaugh is wary of allowing an increased presence of turbines in a community that is growing both residentially and commercially.
During the second reading and action of an amendment to the zoning ordinance concerning wind towers and turbines during the Clinton County Board of Supervisors' meeting, a county resident and businessmen voiced concerns and additional information concerning wind farms.
Waukee became the latest Iowa city to address wind power on Monday, when its City Council voted 3-0 to approve the first reading of an ordinance that would prohibit turbines from being erected on or around single-family homes.
A public hearing and first reading of amendments to the Clinton County Zoning Ordinance sparked discussion concerning reverse setback limits concerning wind farms Wednesday at the Clinton County Board of Supervisors meeting. Paul Ketelsen, planning and zoning administrator, presented an amendment to the zoning ordinance concerning wind harvesting towers.
Homeowners who want a wind turbine on their property will need to have at least an acre of land, the West Des Moines City Council decided Monday. That decision runs counter to a recommendation from the Plan and Zoning Commission last week to eliminate a lot size requirement for residential turbines that generate electricity. "This is uncharted territory for us," Councilman Jim Sandager said. "We certainly can go back and review it. We wanted to err on being more conservative."
Wind turbines may soon be allowed on West Des Moines residential properties, but proposed requirements would severely limit where in the city they could be located. Under the proposal, only lots that are an acre or larger are eligible, which disqualifies a majority of residential property. ...Chittenden said the city must find a delicate balance. "We're trying to respect the wishes and desires of residents, but we must also have some protection for neighbors as well," he said.
The Marshalltown City Council Monday looked to put some regulations on electricity-generating wind turbines. The move came on the heels of Marshalltown's first application for a large-scale wind turbine which was proposed to be put on a property off of Merle Hibbs Boulevard. While the turbines have caught on in rural areas, they have been slow to infiltrate urban areas. "There's nothing addressed in the section at all about wind turbines," said City Planner Stephen Troskey. "This section is all new."