Honolulu Resolution 19-305 establishes 5-mile setback from wind turbines

A proposal to prohibit wind turbines from being installed within 5 miles of any neighboring properties received tentative approved by the Honolulu City Council Zoning Committee. The resolution is presented below and can be accessed at the document links on this page. City officials acknowledged the resolution could effectively eliminate future development of wind farms anywhere on Oahu. Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi introduced Resolution 19-305 in response to the outcry in the Kahuku community over the development of the Na Pua Makani wind-power project. AES Corp. has permits from the city to site eight 568-foot wind turbines.


WHEREAS, while clean renewable energy sources are essential to the development of sustainable communities, the siting of wind farm projects has been the subject of considerable controversy; and

WHEREAS, the rotation of wind machine blades produces audible low-frequency noises, infrasound, and shadow flicker patterns; and

WHEREAS, persons living in close proximity to wind farms have reported adverse health symptoms, including sleep disturbance, dizziness, headache, fatigue1 and psychological distress, that they attribute to exposure to wind machines; and

WHEREAS, a 2018 study by a team of researchers from the University of Toronto found that residential proximity to wind turbines is correlated with annoyance and health-related quality of life measures; and

WHEREAS, the City’s Land Use Ordinance (“LUO”) currently requires horizontal axis wind machines and ground-mounted vertical-axis wind machines to be set back from all property lines a minimum distance equal to the height of the system; and

WHEREAS, the Council believes there is a need to increase the setback distance for wind machines in order to protect people from any possible negative health impacts that wind machines may cause; and

WHEREAS, Charter Section 6-1513 provides that “[a]ny revision of or amendment to the zoning ordinances may be proposed by the council and shall be processed in the same manner as if proposed by the director [of planning and permitting1”; and

WHEREAS, the term “zoning ordinances,” as used in Charter Section 6-1 51 3, includes both amendments to the LUO and to ordinances designating particular parcels of property in terms of the LUC; and

WHEREAS, ROH Chapter 2, Article 24, Part A, establishes procedures and deadlines for the processing of the City Council (“Council”) proposals to revise or amend the general plan, the development plans, the zoning ordinances, and the subdivision ordinance, and clarifies the responsibility of the Director of Planning and Permitting to assist the Council in adequately preparing its proposals for processing; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the City and County of Honolulu that the Director of Planning and Permitting and the Planning Commission are directed, pursuant to Charter Section 6-1513, and ROH Chapter 2, Article 24, Part A, to process the proposed amendment to ROH Chapter 21 (the “Land Use Ordinance”), attached hereto as Exhibit A, in the same manner as if the proposal had been proposed by the Director; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Director of Planning and Permitting is directed to inform the Council upon the transmittal of the Director’s report and the proposed Land Use Ordinance amendment to the Planning Commission; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that, pursuant to ROH Chapter 2, Article 24, Part A, the Clerk shall transmit copies of this resolution and the Exhibit attached hereto to the Director of Planning and Permitting and the Planning Commission, and shall advise them in writing of the date by which the Directors report and accompanying proposed ordinance are required to be submitted to the Planning Commission. 


BE IT ORDAINED by the People of the City and County of Honolulu:

SECTION 1. Purpose. The purpose of this ordinance is to address wind machine setbacks.

SECTION 2. Section 21-5.700, Revised Ordinances of Honolulu 1990 (‘Wind machines”), is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows: “(a) All horizontal-axis [wind machines] and ground-mounted vertical-axis wind machines with a rated capacity of up to 100 kilowatts must be set back from all property lines a minimum distance equal to the height of the system. Height includes the height of the tower or its vertical support structure and the farthest vertical extension of the wind machine. All horizontal-axis and ground-mounted vertical-axis wind machines with a rated capacity of more than 100 kilowatts must be set back from all property lines a minimum distance of five miles. Section 21- 4.60(c)(7) notwithstanding, for rooftop mounted vertical-axis wind machines with a rated capacity of up to 100 kilowatts, the machinery must be set back pursuant to the height setbacks enumerated in articles 3 and 9 for the underlying zoning district or special district precinct.’

SECTION 3. Ordinance material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New ordinance material is underscored. When revising, compiling or printing this ordinance for inclusion in the Revised Ordinances of Honolulu, the Revisor of Ordinances need not
include the brackets, the material that has been bracketed and stricken, underscoring. 

Res19 305

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MAR 12 2020
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