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Planning Commission to consider wind turbine ordinance

To deal with possible new requests, the Planning Commission will look at a proposed ordinance governing wind energy systems. Currently, wind energy systems are allowed only as an accessory use and may be no more than 15 feet tall. Planning director Terry Schweitzer said those rules really limit the use of any wind system. The city has received inquiries for wind systems ..."We have seen one industrial business interested, but they would be hamstrung with our current regulations," Schweitzer said.

To deal with possible new requests, the Planning Commission will look at a proposed ordinance governing wind energy systems.

Currently, wind energy systems are allowed only as an accessory use and may be no more than 15 feet tall. Planning director Terry Schweitzer said those rules really limit the use of any wind system.

The city has received inquiries for wind systems, and Calvin College has one wind turbine near the Gainey athletic fields, just west of East Paris Avenue SE.

"We have seen one industrial business interested, but they would be hamstrung with our current regulations," Schweitzer said.

City planner Joe Pung has researched wind energy systems and how other municipalities regulate them.

The commission has scheduled a hearing on the proposed ordinance at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 4900 Breton Ave. SE.

It would allow wind turbines in some areas and spell out setback and height restrictions. City leaders say wind energy systems might fit well in a conservation-oriented development, for example, although there are other areas that might also be interested in them.

The proposed ordinance would allow small systems producing enough power for a... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

To deal with possible new requests, the Planning Commission will look at a proposed ordinance governing wind energy systems.

Currently, wind energy systems are allowed only as an accessory use and may be no more than 15 feet tall. Planning director Terry Schweitzer said those rules really limit the use of any wind system.

The city has received inquiries for wind systems, and Calvin College has one wind turbine near the Gainey athletic fields, just west of East Paris Avenue SE.

"We have seen one industrial business interested, but they would be hamstrung with our current regulations," Schweitzer said.

City planner Joe Pung has researched wind energy systems and how other municipalities regulate them.

The commission has scheduled a hearing on the proposed ordinance at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 4900 Breton Ave. SE.

It would allow wind turbines in some areas and spell out setback and height restrictions. City leaders say wind energy systems might fit well in a conservation-oriented development, for example, although there are other areas that might also be interested in them.

The proposed ordinance would allow small systems producing enough power for a school or commercial farm but not systems designed to power the electric utility grid.

The proposed ordinance would allow wind towers of up to 30 feet in residential zones and up to 60 feet with a special-use permit from the l commission. Commercial and office zones could have towers of up to 45 feet by right and higher with a permit. Industrial zones would be allowed towers of up to 60 feet tall and, with a permit, higher.

Setback requirements in the proposed ordinance would keep even 30-foot towers out of many residential areas, Pung said.

Residential properties would be limited to one small wind energy system, while properties in commercial, office, and industrial zones could have two, under the proposed rules.

Wind systems are a growing topic among area communities. Ottawa County recently held a symposium on the systems and how to plan for them.

"Right now, the initial cost of these systems, as I understand it, is quite high," Schweitzer said. "But in the future, as technology advances, the costs could become more reasonable and more people are taking a look at this energy source."



Source: http://www.mlive.com/news/g...

JUN 9 2008
https://www.windaction.org/posts/15413-planning-commission-to-consider-wind-turbine-ordinance
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