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Renewable energy ordinance needs tweaking

The Whitehall Planning Commission is going back to the drawing board in preparing an ordinance to regulate development of renewable energy sources within the city. The planners came to that conclusion following its regular monthly meeting, Oct. 6, which mostly was filled with discussion about a draft ordinance first presented to the board in August. ...Now, planners may not hold a hearing before the end of the year.

The Whitehall Planning Commission is going back to the drawing board in preparing an ordinance to regulate development of renewable energy sources within the city.

The planners came to that conclusion following its regular monthly meeting, Oct. 6, which mostly was filled with discussion about a draft ordinance first presented to the board in August.

The planners had scheduled a public hearing on the draft ordinance in September, but it was not held because the hearing was not properly advertised beforehand.

Now, planners may not hold a hearing before the end of the year.

The planning body has directed city staff to review the ordinance with several suggestions for changes.

Those changes would include not requiring a proof of wind source from an anemometer for wind turbines in residential zones, allowing non-roof mounted wind turbines (on a single pole), removal of certain sizes of wind turbine blades and further definition of height limits.

Much of the discussion was a result of a presentation by Adam Kantrovich, director of the Michigan State University Extension office in Ottawa County.

Kantrovich was instrumental in helping develop Ottawa County's renewable energy ordinance two years... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The Whitehall Planning Commission is going back to the drawing board in preparing an ordinance to regulate development of renewable energy sources within the city.

The planners came to that conclusion following its regular monthly meeting, Oct. 6, which mostly was filled with discussion about a draft ordinance first presented to the board in August.

The planners had scheduled a public hearing on the draft ordinance in September, but it was not held because the hearing was not properly advertised beforehand.

Now, planners may not hold a hearing before the end of the year.

The planning body has directed city staff to review the ordinance with several suggestions for changes.

Those changes would include not requiring a proof of wind source from an anemometer for wind turbines in residential zones, allowing non-roof mounted wind turbines (on a single pole), removal of certain sizes of wind turbine blades and further definition of height limits.

Much of the discussion was a result of a presentation by Adam Kantrovich, director of the Michigan State University Extension office in Ottawa County.

Kantrovich was instrumental in helping develop Ottawa County's renewable energy ordinance two years ago.

He was asked to review Whitehall's draft ordinance by Tanya Cabala, Whitehall planner and city council member.

Kantrovich said he had less than 24 hours to review the ordinance, but offered some comments.

In addition, three audience members offered comments, including Martin Holub, who told the planners of newer technology for wind turbines which does not use the conventional blades. The vertical axis turbine, he said, is manufactured in Manistee.

Kantrovich said the city may not want to be specific on some of the dimensions of wind turbines because technology will change quickly, and he said the city may want to reconsider whether to allow a commercial wind energy facility to locate within the city limits.

He said the limit of land within the city may prohibit location of a commercial facility anyway.

Kantrovich also suggested the city look at a different way of controlling the amount of noise allowed instead of a specific number of decibels. He said the Ottawa County ordinance does not allow the noise to exceed the lowest ambient noise level in a residential area from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m.

"I don't feel qualified to vote on it (renewable energy ordinance) now," Cabala told the board. "It's a technical issue. I find ours a laudable start, but confusing. We need a clear index."

Planner David Bedau, Jr. questioned whether there is a height restriction in the draft ordinance.

Planning Commission Chairman Andy Fink also had suggestions for changes in the ordinance including the need to have anemometer readings for residential wind turbines.

"Do we need to require proof with an anemometer?," he questioned. "Let the guy waste his money."

Kantrovich said this area is not considered efficient for production of electricity from a residential wind turbine.

The city staff expects to present some changes to the planners by the end of the year.


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

OCT 19 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/22727-renewable-energy-ordinance-needs-tweaking
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