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Whitehall planners to review renewable energy ordinance

A draft Renewable Energy Source ordinance submitted to the City Planning Commission at its meeting Aug. 4, is on the planners' agenda on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 7 p.m. ...Helmlinger said the city is concerned about the safety and aesthetics of wind turbines and solar panels mounted on roofs of homes. The ordinance will control design and installation of wind turbines, including visual appearance, and will limit its height. The noise level is limited, and shadow flicker from the turbine blades must be minimized.

This Tuesday, the City of Whitehall Planning Commission will discuss a proposed ordinance to allow installation of renewable energy equipment at sites, including homes.

A draft Renewable Energy Source ordinance submitted to the City Planning Commission at its meeting Aug. 4, is on the planners' agenda on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 7 p.m.

The public hearing was originally scheduled for the planners' Sept. 1 meeting, but it was not held after it was discovered the original hearing was not advertised in a timely manner.

Last Friday Zoning Administrator/City Clerk Karen Helmlinger said the proposed renewable resource ordinance is the only item on the planners' agenda for Oct. 6.

At the September meeting, some planners expressed an opinion that the proposed ordinance should be discussed before presented in a formal public hearing.

"I hate to think we will discuss this for the first time in a public hearing," said Diane Klinefelter.

Helmlinger told the planners she thought they would discuss the ordinance at the September meeting before holding a public hearing.

Planning Chairman Andy Fink said he had reviewed the proposed ordinance since receiving it the previous month, and has some changes to suggest.

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This Tuesday, the City of Whitehall Planning Commission will discuss a proposed ordinance to allow installation of renewable energy equipment at sites, including homes.

A draft Renewable Energy Source ordinance submitted to the City Planning Commission at its meeting Aug. 4, is on the planners' agenda on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 7 p.m.

The public hearing was originally scheduled for the planners' Sept. 1 meeting, but it was not held after it was discovered the original hearing was not advertised in a timely manner.

Last Friday Zoning Administrator/City Clerk Karen Helmlinger said the proposed renewable resource ordinance is the only item on the planners' agenda for Oct. 6.

At the September meeting, some planners expressed an opinion that the proposed ordinance should be discussed before presented in a formal public hearing.

"I hate to think we will discuss this for the first time in a public hearing," said Diane Klinefelter.

Helmlinger told the planners she thought they would discuss the ordinance at the September meeting before holding a public hearing.

Planning Chairman Andy Fink said he had reviewed the proposed ordinance since receiving it the previous month, and has some changes to suggest.

Planner Tanya Cabala said she would like to have an informational meeting set so the public and planners could discuss the issue before a formal public hearing.

Cabala said Ottawa County has a model ordinance.

Helmlinger said she has seen the Ottawa County ordinance, but that the proposed ordinance in Whitehall is similar to the one recently passed in the City of Norton Shores.

Planner Dave Bedau, who had made motion to hold a public hearing on the proposed renewable energy ordinance at the Oct. 6 meeting, later in the Sept. 1 session, withdrew the motion which had not received a second.

Until an ordinance permitting and regulating renewable energy sources is passed by the city, Helmlinger said such uses are not allowed.

The draft ordinance will regulate wind turbines, wind energy facilities, solar panels and other renewable energy sources in the city.

The goals of the ordinance, as stated in the draft document, are to promote safe, effective and efficient use of wind turbines, wind energy systems, solar panels and other renewable energy sources; lessen potential adverse impact of such use in residential areas and land uses through careful design, siting, noise limitations and camouflaging techniques and to avoid potential damage to adjacent properties from failure through engineering and proper siting of structures used for renewable energy.

Helmlinger said the city is concerned about the safety and aesthetics of wind turbines and solar panels mounted on roofs of homes.

The ordinance will control design and installation of wind turbines, including visual appearance, and will limit its height. The noise level is limited, and shadow flicker from the turbine blades must be minimized.

The ordinance provides for a minimum site of 20 acres for a wind energy facility, and it also provides for setbacks from property lines for wind turbine placements.

According to the draft ordinance, permits are required for placement of new renewable energy source equipment or modification of current equipment. Wind turbines in all zoning districts may be subject to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval.

A single wind turbine not to exceed 70 feet in height shall be considered a permitted accessory use in any industrial zoning district. Roof mounted wind turbines will be a permitted accessory use on parcels in any non-residential zoning district with a minimum separation of a least one rotor diameter.

And, a single roof mounted wind turbine will be a permitted accessory use in any residentially zoned parcel.

However, a wind turbine 70-200 feet in height and a wind energy facility will be considered a special use in any industrial zoning district.

To obtain a special use permit for wind turbines and wind energy facilities, an applicant must provide a narrative of the proposed project, an affidavit or similar agreement between the property owner and operator and the proposed site must have documented annual wind resources and the plan must meet the required limitations in site size and setbacks.

To ensure wind turbines and wind energy facilities are maintained, the draft ordinance requires all such equipment must be decommissioned (removed) within a year of its useful life. The useful life is considered over if the equipment hasn't generated electricity in the past 12 months.

Roof-mounted solar panels are permitted on buildings and structures in all zoning districts. Separate, non-integrated flush-mounted solar panels shall be located on a rear or side facing roof which do not front a street unless such installation is proven to be ineffective or impractical. If so, any other placement will be subject to a design review by the planning commission.

Any separate, flush-mounted solar panels will not be allowed to project vertically above the peak of a sloped roof to which it is attached or project more than five feet over a flat roof, and no solar panels will be allowed to project higher than the permitted building height in any zoning district.

The public is welcome to comment on the draft ordinance during public participation at the planners' meeting, or in writing. A copy is available for inspection at Whitehall City Hall.


Source: http://www.whitelakebeacon....

SEP 28 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/22427-whitehall-planners-to-review-renewable-energy-ordinance
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