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West Cape May delays windmill ordinance

Borough Commission delayed passing two ordinances Feb. 11, one to regulate wind turbines and solar energy panels and another to set fees for applications to install the alternative energy devices. Mayor Pamela Kaithern said there had been discussion of the ordinances at the Planning Board meeting on the previous night. One item discussed was allowing more than one wind turbine on farms. As written, the ordinance would allow only one wind turbine per property.

WEST CAPE MAY - Borough Commission delayed passing two ordinances Feb. 11, one to regulate wind turbines and solar energy panels and another to set fees for applications to install the alternative energy devices.

Mayor Pamela Kaithern said there had been discussion of the ordinances at the Planning Board meeting on the previous night. One item discussed was allowing more than one wind turbine on farms. As written, the ordinance would allow only one wind turbine per property. Kaithern suggested passing the ordinance permitting only one turbine per property noting a farm owner could apply for a variance.

Paul Simmons, of the Lomax Consulting Group, an environmental consulting firm, who was seated in the audience, said the state Department of Environmental Protection has drafted a proposal which would allow up to three wind turbines under 150-feet tall with a total swept area of less than 20,000 square feet on a site without a state permit or authorization. Swept area is the area of the rotor blades, he said.

Simmons said he was completing wind safe assessment training through the New Jersey Clean Energy Program.

The borough's pending ordinance allows a wind turbine... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

WEST CAPE MAY - Borough Commission delayed passing two ordinances Feb. 11, one to regulate wind turbines and solar energy panels and another to set fees for applications to install the alternative energy devices.

Mayor Pamela Kaithern said there had been discussion of the ordinances at the Planning Board meeting on the previous night. One item discussed was allowing more than one wind turbine on farms. As written, the ordinance would allow only one wind turbine per property. Kaithern suggested passing the ordinance permitting only one turbine per property noting a farm owner could apply for a variance.

Paul Simmons, of the Lomax Consulting Group, an environmental consulting firm, who was seated in the audience, said the state Department of Environmental Protection has drafted a proposal which would allow up to three wind turbines under 150-feet tall with a total swept area of less than 20,000 square feet on a site without a state permit or authorization. Swept area is the area of the rotor blades, he said.

Simmons said he was completing wind safe assessment training through the New Jersey Clean Energy Program.

The borough's pending ordinance allows a wind turbine on a half-acre lot to a maximum height of 50-feet. By only allowing one turbine per lot, it restricts a property owner such as a farmer who may want to install more than one turbine on a large piece of property, said Simmons.

Resident Gene Cathrall said he considered the minimum lot size of one half acre too small for a wind turbine. He said allowing only one windmill on a 20 or 50-acre farm did not make sense.

Simmons said he felt 80-feet should be the minimum height for a turbine to get it above turbulent air that could cause the turbine to break down or not function properly due to wind interference from trees and buildings.

"It's really essential for a turbine to be as high as possible," he said. "It is almost senseless to put up a turbine at a height of 50 feet and actually expect to get anything out of it."

Solar panels are more appropriate for densely populated areas, said Simmons.

Kaithern said the half-acre lot requirement essentially keeps windmills out of the core center of West Cape May.

Peter Lomax, also of the Lomax Consulting Group, said the last thing the town would want would be 25 or 30, 50-foot high," marginal" windmills.

Borough Engineer Ray Roberts of Remington Vernick and Walberg, said the ordinance allows someone who wants to install more than one wind turbine to make their case in front of the Planning Board, which would give the community time to evaluate it and realize if it's in the best interests of the town.

The borough's proposed ordinance limits wind turbines to producing 100 kilowatts or less, said Kaithern. She said a wind turbine is considered an accessory structure, which requires a house or other primary use be located on a property.

Since no half acre lots are located in the R-1, R-2 and R-3 zones, wind turbines would not be built in those areas and be located in the outer ring of the borough, said Kaithern.

"The issue is then do you let lot size drive this or do you determine as a municipality that we want viable renewable energy systems and then based on that, you back into the height of the tower and then the fall distance determines the lot size," said Lomax.

Simmons said a three-quarter acre lot may be required for an 80-foot tall wind turbine. Roberts said allowing a maximum of 80-foot wind turbines would eliminate placing them on half-acre lots.

Kaithern and Commissioner Peter Burke said they where "torn" on the issue of going to three-quarter acre minimum lots and 80 foot turbine heights.
The wind/solar ordinances will return to commission's agenda Feb. 25 at 1 p.m. for a public hearing and second vote.


Source: http://www.capemaycountyher...

FEB 13 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/19072-west-cape-may-delays-windmill-ordinance
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