Library filed under Zoning/Planning from Iowa
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."
MidAmerican Energy is developing a 100-turbine wind-power project in Carroll County that will stretch from just inside Carroll's two-mile limit to Breda. The $300 million turbine project started in recent days with the construction of access roads and other initial work, Tom Budler, Mid-American's general manager for wind power, said in an interview with the Daily Times Herald. MidAmerican plans to move swiftly on the project. "It will absolutely be on the line by the end of 2008," Budler said. ...Budler and other MidAmerican officials were in Carroll Monday for a city council meeting to discuss a proposed ordinance that would affect seven of the 100 turbines. Those seven would be in the jurisdiction of the city, and officials want more information about height, setbacks and possible impact on other development before any ordinance goes into effect.
Members of a city review board unofficially agreed Tuesday that installing a personal wind turbine on a residential property just inside the Marshalltown city limits would be a good fit, but they held off from steering the beginnings of a residential wind turbine policy that currently does not exist. "There are a litany of other issues. I have very little problem with your property," Board of Adjustment member Sherm Welker told Garland and Julie Schossow, who sought a variance to the 35-foot height limitation at their 1811 E. Merle Hibbs Blvd. home in order to put up a 71-foot tall windmill, "but if I say yes to you, how can I justify a no to somebody else? We're making up the rules as we go and even though we have the authority, I don't know if that's in the public's best interest."
In other discussion, Clay County Zoning Administrator Tammy McKeever talked to the supervisors about possible changes to zoning ordinances in unincorporated areas of the county. McKeever noted the prevalence of wind turbines since zoning ordinances underwent an extensive review 18 years ago. "Right now, the way the zoning ordinances read is: We have a setback of 50 feet all the way around," for turbines, McKeever said. "Well, that's pretty close to a road and pretty unheard of in zoning. ...McKeever explained that county zoning has two major roles -- to protect prime agricultural land and to ensure individuals have an opportunity to enjoy their property. "If you have a wind turbine built 50 feet from your house that you didn't want necessarily, it could infringe on your enjoyment of your property, so that is what we're looking at," she said.
Members of the board of adjustment unanimously approved a special exemption allowance to Ulland Brothers. The company, which is based in Austin, Minn., wants to use rock from the quarry to build access roads for a nearby project to erect a wind turbines. ...Blasting and crushing can only take place from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Residents will be notified before blasting takes place. "A siren signal will sound before we start any blasting," said Valerie Raverty, aggregate manager for Ulland. "We don't foresee any problem with notifying people with phone calls, either."
Plans for a $600 million 300-megawatt wind farm in North Iowa are moving forward. The Iowa Utilities Board granted a regulatory waiver last week to Horizon Wind Energy to create its Pioneer Prairie Wind Farm in Howard and Mitchell counties. The waiver allows two of the 12 lines receiving electricity from the turbines to be over the 25-megawatt limit. Construction is expected to begin this year, said Doug Jones, senior project manager. Jones and other local company officials work out of offices in Grand Meadow, Minn. ...The company also got a waiver of property owner notification requirements. State regulators say it's not necessary since wind projects don't have the same noise and environmental issues as gas or coal-fired facilities.
Officials with California-based Clipper Windpower are announcing plans to create one of Iowa's largest wind farms near the western Iowa town of Adair. A second company, Invenergy of Chicago, wants to construct another wind farm nearby in Adair and Cass counties. Invenergy development manager Ben Hach says they already have easements from landowners near Casey, south of Interstate 80.