Article

Wind turbine plan passes

A project to put up a wind turbine at Hope Street Academy generated a civics lesson for students there, five of whom asked the city's governing body Tuesday evening to allow small wind energy systems to operate in Topeka for nonresidential purposes. The governing body, which includes the city council and Mayor Bill Bunten, subsequently voted 10-0 to approve an ordinance making that move and a companion measure requiring users of wind energy systems to acquire a conditional-use permit from the governing body.

A project to put up a wind turbine at Hope Street Academy generated a civics lesson for students there, five of whom asked the city's governing body Tuesday evening to allow small wind energy systems to operate in Topeka for nonresidential purposes.

The governing body, which includes the city council and Mayor Bill Bunten, subsequently voted 10-0 to approve an ordinance making that move and a companion measure requiring users of wind energy systems to acquire a conditional-use permit from the governing body.

The moves were good news for the students and staff at Hope Street, an alternative high school in Topeka Unified School District 501 that was chosen earlier this year to receive a small wind turbine.

Principal Dale Noll said the 45-foot-tall turbine will have propellers 12 feet in diameter at its top. When the wind blows, he said, the blades will turn, generating perhaps $400 to $500 worth of electricity per year for the school to use.

Noll said the school's primary goal is for the turbine to become a learning tool to educate students at Hope Street and other Topeka schools. Hope Street plans to post information about the turbine online, including details about how much... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

A project to put up a wind turbine at Hope Street Academy generated a civics lesson for students there, five of whom asked the city's governing body Tuesday evening to allow small wind energy systems to operate in Topeka for nonresidential purposes.

The governing body, which includes the city council and Mayor Bill Bunten, subsequently voted 10-0 to approve an ordinance making that move and a companion measure requiring users of wind energy systems to acquire a conditional-use permit from the governing body.

The moves were good news for the students and staff at Hope Street, an alternative high school in Topeka Unified School District 501 that was chosen earlier this year to receive a small wind turbine.

Principal Dale Noll said the 45-foot-tall turbine will have propellers 12 feet in diameter at its top. When the wind blows, he said, the blades will turn, generating perhaps $400 to $500 worth of electricity per year for the school to use.

Noll said the school's primary goal is for the turbine to become a learning tool to educate students at Hope Street and other Topeka schools. Hope Street plans to post information about the turbine online, including details about how much electricity it produces.

Noll said the turbine project has involved the entire school, though some classes have played a larger role than others. Students submitted an application that led to Hope Street being one of five schools in the state selected this year by the Kansas Rural Center to put up turbines as part of the Wind for Schools program financed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

But before the school could put up the turbine, Noll said, it needed the city to change its zoning rules to allow the operation of small wind energy systems.

City planning director David Thurbon said those at Hope Street and others who hope to put up wind energy systems in Topeka -- some for private homes -- encouraged the city over the past year to draw up a proposal to allow the operation of such systems for residential and nonresidential purposes. Assistant city attorney Braxton Copley said the Topeka Planning Commission subsequently decided to take residential uses out of that proposal.

Hope Street students spoke before planning commissioners last month when they considered that measure, which they voted 6-1 to recommend be approved by the governing body.

Hope Street students Jacy Gatchell, Evanne Wheeler, Amanda Rice, Quincy McCord and John Scholes then urged the governing body Tuesday night to approve the ordinance. Rice said students collected 311 signatures from residents of the area around the school who support putting up the turbine, which she said would produce between 40 and 65 decibels of sound.

Several council members complimented the students for their research and hard work, with Councilwoman Deborah Swank saying she was proud that they were bringing something so innovative and progressive to Topeka.

After Tuesday's vote, Noll expected Hope Street students to get a further lesson in civics as the school takes the steps necessary to acquire the conditional-use permit it will need to put up the turbine.


Source: http://cjonline.com/news/lo...

SEP 23 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/22313-wind-turbine-plan-passes
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