Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from USA

Bill to ease approval of wind and solar farms flops, but debate rages on

The bill, hotly debated throughout the session, would have created some statewide regulations for wind and solar projects and provided some financial incentives from developers for counties that choose to give a green light to such projects. But tough opposition from representatives of local governments, as well as grassroots citizen groups, kept pushing the local control alarm that ultimately may have led to the bill’s demise.
14 Apr 2021

HB 1381 passes senate committee with amendment; Huhn calls it 'acceptable'

The Utility Committee seems to have heeded Huhn’s word. Senator Mark Messmer drafted what was referred to as Amendment Three, significantly changing the bill. This amendment grandfathers in counties that have more restrictions on renewable energy systems than the standards in the bill, like Henry County’s current wind energy conversion systems (WECS) ordinance. This amendment also reduces the noise limit a wind turbine can make to 50 db (it was higher in the original draft) and increases setbacks from municipalities and state parks to one mile. But most notably, the amendment does away with mentions of home rule, and changed the appeals process – instead of appealing to the IURC, complaints would be filed with the local circuit courts. This was done in an effort to keep more local control.
3 Apr 2021

Plan to limit turbines riles growing Kansas wind industry

State Senate Utilities Committee Chairman Mike Thompson said Wednesday that he is trying to protect landowners who fear that a proliferation of large turbines in their rural areas will drop property values and harm their quality of life. Thompson, a conservative Shawnee Republican, is pursuing a bill that would impose statewide regulations limiting turbines to one per square mile and keeping them 1.5 miles from any home or public building.
24 Mar 2021

Anderson County property owner compares wind farms to menacing strip clubs, landfills

Anderson County resident Mike Burns ripped pages of his prepared speech in half Monday to speak from the heart about why Kansas had to pass a law regulating placement of wind farms to protect property rights and bring peace of mind to folks in rural areas attractive to developers. Burns joined dozens of people at the Capitol eager to testify on behalf of Senate Bill 279, which would establish state-crafted regulation of wind generation facilities from the turbine to power line. It would replace county commission preferences for or against wind farms with state law defining turbine setbacks from businesses, parks, homes, property lines and much more. The maximum density would be one turbine per square mile, well below the current standard. There would be caps on sound and light emitted by turbines that sometimes reach 500 feet into the sky.
22 Mar 2021

Hearings set on planned wind farm just south of Tri-Cities

Opponents of the wind farm have started an online petition. They also have started a GoFundMe fundraiser called “Save Our Horse Heaven Hills” that has raised more than $5,000. “We are in danger of losing the natural beauty of this unique geological feature with majestic ridges, rolling hills, and steep slopes contoured by ice age floods,” says the fundraiser organized by Barry Bush, a Benton PUD commissioner, to raise public awareness.
16 Mar 2021

30-plus counties hit the brakes on wind farms. Indiana may soon blow that up.

During the last decade or so, counties have exercised this power in regard to wind and solar development. County commissioners in over 30 Indiana counties, such as Boone, Marshall and Pulaski, have passed ordinances that restrict or ban industrial wind. These bans and ordinances are the result of months and even years of study and public input and reflect the will of the people in those counties. ...Enter Ed Soliday, a state representative from Valparaiso, who is the author of HB 1381, which establishes statewide standards for siting of wind and solar installations. If passed, this bill would invalidate all existing county ordinances and moratoriums. The House approved the measure by a vote of 58-38 on Feb. 17, and the Senate began consideration of the bill March 1.  
10 Mar 2021

Renewables bill pits locals against state

A bill clearing the path for renewable energy in Indiana at the request of the businesses community has split both major parties and pitted local counties against the bill’s erosion of “home rule.” The bill sets standards for siting solar and wind farms but allows counties to permit and review the process. However, if a county denies a company that meets these standards, a company can appeal to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.
26 Feb 2021

MI Appeals Court Concluded Interim Zoning Ordinance is Valid and Not Subject to Referendum, and Dismissed Lawsuit by Solar Developer

An interim zoning ordinance put in place by the Township of Benton blocked the construction of a large-scale solar array, proposed by the Sandstone Creek Solar, LLC (“Sandstone”). ...The court went on to explain that the legislative purpose of interim ordinance is “[t]o protect the public health, safety, and general welfare … during the period required for the preparation and enactment of an initial zoning ordinance,” and for this purpose interim ordinances are allowed to take immediate effect. Such purpose would not be fulfilled if interim ordinances could be automatically suspended upon the filing of a referendum petition. 
13 Feb 2021

Pine Township supervisor says wind moratorium is not an option

“A close look should be taken at all of those concerns,” he said. “I’d like to assure everybody that no construction can begin without a special use permit and ultimately a zoning permit. At this point in time, nobody has even applied for the special use part of it. I also agree that the present ordinance could stand some tweaking. The setbacks definitely need a closer look. It does address shadow flicker and decibels and so on — maybe they need to be tightened up.
11 Feb 2021

Lancaster County's rules governing turbines still floating in the wind

The Planning Department recommended reducing the setback from a property that is not part of a project from 5 times the height of the turbines to 3½ times the height. The department did not recommend changing the noise levels, however, as the city-county Health Department has not had time to do any studies that would show evidence to warrant a change.
21 Jan 2021

http://www.windaction.org/posts?location=USA&topic=Zoning%2FPlanning&type=Article
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