Article

Commission questions turbine rules

Regulations for small wind energy systems in Somerset County could get a bit of tweaking before adoption by Somerset County Commissioners, who questioned setbacks and other provisions during a public hearing. In particular, commissioners asked why there was a 20-foot setback requirement for wind turbines from a driveway on the same property.

PRINCESS ANNE -- Regulations for small wind energy systems in Somerset County could get a bit of tweaking before adoption by Somerset County Commissioners, who questioned setbacks and other provisions during a public hearing.

In particular, commissioners asked why there was a 20-foot setback requirement for wind turbines from a driveway on the same property.

"I don't care if they put it on their own patio," Commissioner Rex Simpkins said Tuesday. "It doesn't bother me."

Commissioner Mike McCready said he would like homeowners to be able to install two turbines rather than just one so they would provide enough free electrical power for the entire household.

The county's planning staff has been struggling with drafting regulations for residential wind systems for months, said David Lloyd, acting planning director.

Since wind technology is changing rapidly and there are few systems in place, the staff had a difficult job, he said.

"We were designing an ordinance for something that's basically a theory," Lloyd said.

The new regulations -- which would be adopted as an amendment to the county's zoning ordinance -- apply only to residential, maritime and agricultural zones. Commercial uses... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

PRINCESS ANNE -- Regulations for small wind energy systems in Somerset County could get a bit of tweaking before adoption by Somerset County Commissioners, who questioned setbacks and other provisions during a public hearing.

In particular, commissioners asked why there was a 20-foot setback requirement for wind turbines from a driveway on the same property.

"I don't care if they put it on their own patio," Commissioner Rex Simpkins said Tuesday. "It doesn't bother me."

Commissioner Mike McCready said he would like homeowners to be able to install two turbines rather than just one so they would provide enough free electrical power for the entire household.

The county's planning staff has been struggling with drafting regulations for residential wind systems for months, said David Lloyd, acting planning director.

Since wind technology is changing rapidly and there are few systems in place, the staff had a difficult job, he said.

"We were designing an ordinance for something that's basically a theory," Lloyd said.

The new regulations -- which would be adopted as an amendment to the county's zoning ordinance -- apply only to residential, maritime and agricultural zones. Commercial uses will be addressed separately, Lloyd said.

The proposed new regulations set a height restriction for towers at 150 feet or less and a noise limit of 60 decibels as measured at the closest dwelling.

Setbacks equal to the total height of the tower, plus 20 feet, are required from public roads, any rights of ingress or egress on the owner's property, overhead utility lines, all property lines and any existing wire on the property.

Under the proposed regulations, the county's Board of Zoning Appeals would not have the authority to grant variances for setbacks or any other requirements.

Although no members of the public attended Tuesday's hearing, a letter from Noah Bradshaw, Crisfield's city inspector, was read into the record.

Bradshaw encouraged passage of county wind energy regulations, but cautioned against setbacks that were too large or county fees that were too high, which might discourage homeowners.

In October, the Crisfield City Council adopted its own wind ordinance written by Bradshaw. The city also is seeking state funding to build a wind turbine to power the sewage treatment plant.

The County Commissioners will accept written comment on the proposed county regulations through Feb. 26. They could make a decision on it as early as March 2.


Source: http://www.delmarvanow.com/...

FEB 17 2010
https://www.windaction.org/posts/24683-commission-questions-turbine-rules
back to top