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Mason County Planning Commission continues review of wind energy ordinance amendments

The combination of greater setbacks and stricter modeling should provide greater safety margins to prevent a park from exceeding the sound limits, commissioners reasoned. The commission also wants it made more clear that any exceedence of the standards means a turbine is out of compliance.

SCOTTVILLE — If there is another wind park developed in Mason County, not only might greater setbacks be required, but any new wind energy park might have to be modeled on quieter standards, according to concepts agreed to Tuesday night by the Mason County Planning Commission.

Last week, the commission agreed to double the setbacks from turbines to unpooled parcels to four times the height of the turbine. It also agreed to increase the setback on pooled parcels to three times the height of the turbine from a residence.

Tuesday night, the planners agreed to keep the maximum sound levels at 45 decibels at the property line of unpooled parcels and 55 decibels on pooled parcels. However, it added that in pre-construction modeling, any park would have to meet a 40 decibel limit at unpooled properties and 50 at pooled.

The combination of greater setbacks and stricter modeling should provide greater safety margins to prevent a park from exceeding the sound limits, commissioners reasoned.

The commission also wants it made more clear that any exceedence of the standards means a turbine is out of compliance.

The commission also settled on some testing... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

SCOTTVILLE — If there is another wind park developed in Mason County, not only might greater setbacks be required, but any new wind energy park might have to be modeled on quieter standards, according to concepts agreed to Tuesday night by the Mason County Planning Commission.

Last week, the commission agreed to double the setbacks from turbines to unpooled parcels to four times the height of the turbine. It also agreed to increase the setback on pooled parcels to three times the height of the turbine from a residence.

Tuesday night, the planners agreed to keep the maximum sound levels at 45 decibels at the property line of unpooled parcels and 55 decibels on pooled parcels. However, it added that in pre-construction modeling, any park would have to meet a 40 decibel limit at unpooled properties and 50 at pooled.

The combination of greater setbacks and stricter modeling should provide greater safety margins to prevent a park from exceeding the sound limits, commissioners reasoned.

The commission also wants it made more clear that any exceedence of the standards means a turbine is out of compliance.

The commission also settled on some testing matters, agreeing to require ten, 10-minute tests at sites recommended by sound consultants for testing.

It also discussed low frequency sound levels, but decided to get more clarification before addressing that matter.

The commission is working to amend the county ordinance covering utility scale wind parks in the wake of lessons learned in the start up of Lake Winds Energy Park in Summit and Riverton Townships.

Mary Reilly, county building and zoning administrator, will work up wording of potential amendments incorporating the concepts the planners have agreed on to present to the planning commission for first look at its Dec. 16 meeting. That wording could be tweaked before the commission considers approval. Any changes the planning commission would consider approving would be the subject of a public hearing. Then, if adopted by the planning commission, potential changes must still go to the Mason County Board of Commissioners for its review and potential approval.

The rules changes would not affect Lake Winds Energy Park existing 56 turbines.

“I think we are really close,” Reilly said as the meeting neared its end.

At least one member in the audience urged the commission to limit tower heights or consider a ban on new utility-scale wind development in the county.


Source: http://www.shorelinemedia.n...

DEC 3 2014
https://www.windaction.org/posts/42900-mason-county-planning-commission-continues-review-of-wind-energy-ordinance-amendments
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