Articles filed under Zoning/Planning
INDIANAPOLIS — Some Hoosiers say the state needs to regulate how and where companies can build wind turbines.
As of this writing, local wind turbine projects seem to have run their course with local decision-makers. A lawsuit is still working its way through the system to clarify whether or not those boards ever had authority to give a green light to the power producers in the first place.
No new wind farm applications have been filed with the Ohio Power Siting Board since. Mr. Hite said some projects already approved before the stricter rules took effect would like to take advantage of new technology developed in recent years, but they fear that changing the projects’ designs now would open them to the tighter restrictions.
Much of the discussion by commission members centered around set-backs, how far away wind towers would be set back from existing buildings and houses. There was also discussion about the costs of decommissioning the towers, how the costs to remove them would be covered and by whom, should the towers be abandoned 15-20 years in the future.
An informational meeting was held Tuesday night about wind turbines and why many townships across the state have rejected wind energy development. The company wanting to build the turbines chose not to attend the meeting.
Apex Clean Energy has shelved plans to build a multi-million dollar wind power project in Perquimans County but will pursue building the Timbermill Wind project in Chowan County where it did win approval. The company made the announcement last Wednesday.
Councilman Wayne Rogers called on his fellow Town Board members to explore modifications to the town law adopted prior to the construction of the Jericho Rise project to address some of the problems that have arisen since the wind farm began operation at the end of last year.
Lincoln first moved to become self-zoned about a year ago. At the same time, the county was considering whether to allow a wind development overlay zone in the township, as proposed by DTE Energy. According to records in the Huron County Register of Deeds office, all but one person on the Lincoln Township Board of Trustees have wind contracts.
“I think that 90 days is very little to ask for what’s going to affect this county and the people who live in this county — how they live, how safe they are and what their health is — for the next 30 or 40 years,” Cory said.
“What the Government is looking at, at the moment, if we fail to reach our targets for 2020, which we will, is paying out anything between €400m and €600m to the European Commission in fines because we failed to reach our renewable energy targets,” he said.
The Orleans Town Council will review a proposed new wind law that combines its existing law with a previously proposed amendment that contained 48 pages of additional regulations.
Given the fact an Illinois-based energy company is studying the idea of adding windmills in the township next door, it makes sense for the township to be prepared for the possibility, too, township Chairman Lewis Clark II said.
Marvin said the new measurement for setback distances would be measured from the center of the base of the turbine instead of the center of the hub. The commission targeted change in the setback distance. Currently, turbines must be 2,000 feet from the residence of a non-participating landowner. The new regulations require a 2,700 ft. distance.
A judge on Monday ruled in favor of the Clark County Commissioners’ decision to keep wind towers a minimum of 3,960 feet from residences. The decision could affect the outcome of the Crocker Wind Farm planned by Geronimo Energy of Minneapolis.
Why should the setback be shorter than turbine manufacturers’ recommended safety setback of 1,300 feet? They recommend their own technicians not be within 1,300 feet of an operating turbine, but it’s all right for Ohio’s rural residents to be well within that when it is measured to our homes.
The Commission had earlier been approached by Aaron Branam, project manager for EDP Renewables of North America LLC, regarding changes to the county’s land use plans pertaining to wind energy regulations. The commissioners were unanimous in their decision to not change the regulations, citing the welfare of the county’s citizens, environmental impacts, and land values as factors in their decisions.
John Tynan, chairman of the Select Board, said he learned many residents who wanted to attend the hearing were unable to do so because of the date. "We can't put all the players together," he said. "We thought we had all our ducks in a row but we didn't."
Landowners blew through a gust of grievances on un-built wind farms Monday years after they signed leases — or, in one case, after construction started on property where a lease was never signed. One landowner, Sandy Sellers, told Marion County commissioners he never signed a lease, yet Windborne Energy still performed work on his property against his will.
“I don’t think our ordinance with a 60 decibel sound limit and no word of a setback from an occupied residence protects my health and well-being,” McGarvey said. “In effect, they have trespass rights on my property with ice throw, blade throw, whatever. That isn’t right.” Resident Greg Cory joined those calling for county government leaders to start the discussion now.
Proposed wind-power turbines on a Savoy ridge could get three stories taller. The town's Zoning Board of Appeals will hold a public hearing at 5 p.m. Thursday to consider amending its decade-old bylaw regulating wind energy.