Library filed under Zoning/Planning from North Carolina
Though most people agree that North Carolina needs to develop cleaner energy sources, the enthusiasm apparently ends at the backyard. Carteret County residents turned out at a public hearing Monday night to raise questions about the prospect of living near wind turbines that would dwarf the Cape Lookout lighthouse and stand taller than the Wachovia building in downtown Raleigh. After hearing residents' concerns about the proposal to build a commercial-scale wind farm in coastal Carteret, county commissioners passed a nine-month moratorium on issuing permits for wind turbines.
Carteret County commissioners adopted a moratorium Monday on issuing permits to build windmills. The action followed a public hearing in which an impassioned and overflow crowd mostly agreed the county needs more information. A total of 17 signed up to speak for and against the concept of wind energy in a hurricane-prone county. They focused specifically on the location and plans for the proposed Golden Wind Farm near the community of Bettie. That proposal is now before the N.C. Utilities Commission. The moratorium passed unanimously and will allow the county nine months to study wind-energy technology and its use and regulation nationally and in coastal areas.
The same areas along the North Carolina coast recognized for the winds that can generate power are also prone to hurricane-force winds that generate a force of their own. That's a concern for Carteret County resident Stephanie Miscovich, who lives near the site of a proposed wind energy project that would put three wind turbines in the Down East community of Bettie. "We're known for our winds but we're also known for our extreme winds, and we need to take note of that," she said. Plans for the Golden Wind Farm project now before the N.C. Utilities Commission call for three windmills below 500 feet when measured from sea level to the highest reach of the blades.
Near the town of Bettie in Carteret County, the Pauls plan to build a wind farm of three turbines that would generate enough power for about 900 homes, or about 4.5 megawatts. The 464-foot-high windmills would begin generating power in 2010. "This project, as small as it is, is 90 times larger than the largest wind generation facility currently operating in North Carolina," Nelson Paul wrote in an e-mail. Before the project can begin, the North Carolina Utilities Commission must approve the project and the couple must withstand opposition from neighbors who worry that the turbines will ruin the scenery, Paul said.
The Board of Commissioners has set a public hearing for 6 p.m. March 3 to receive public comments on the "possibility of imposing a moratorium for any approvals for the construction or erection of towers, electric generating windmills, and similar type of tall structures in Carteret County so the impacts can be studied and any needed regulations can be adopted." There are no specific criteria in county ordinances that apply to windmills or other similar structures, and Davis said that leaves the Bettie community east of Beaufort vulnerable to potential noise, height, safety and other concerns from the proposed windmill turbines. While detailed final plans have not been developed, initial proposals include three windmills as tall as 340 feet with a blade diameter of about 271 feet. ...Commissioner Jonathan Robinson said he doesn't have a problem with developing renewable energy sources, but the county should also look at what impacts may be involved and where windmills, towers and other tall structures should be.
A couple looking to build three electricity-generating wind turbines in rural North Carolina is facing opposition from neighbors who say the towering windmills will create noise and disrupt the aesthetic scenery of their coastal community. Nelson and Dianna Paul, who live in Raleigh, have asked the North Carolina Utilities Commission for permission to build the Golden Wind Farm on a 33-acre tract of open land in Bettie, a town about seven miles northeast of Beaufort. If successful, it would be the largest wind farm in the state. ...Representatives of the North Carolina Public Staff, which advocates for the public before the commission, recommended the panel grant a permit if the FAA approves the project. The commission is expected to issue a decision in the next several months.
Though most support the need for cleaner energy, neighbors in Bettie, a rural community about seven miles northeast of Beaufort, objected to the project. They contend that the towering wind turbines would be noisy and unattractive, and would spoil the enjoyment of their property. The turbines, including the blades, could stand up to 464 feet high -- more than twice the height of the Cape Lookout lighthouse, the familiar sentinel on the Outer Banks, and taller even than the 30-story Wachovia Capitol Center in downtown Raleigh. "You're going to be able to see it from Beaufort and Morehead City," said Brady Golden, who lives across from the property. "Highway 70 is a scenic highway. There are a lot of questions the people of Bettie have."
A Raleigh couple, Nelson and Dianna Paul, are seeking permission from the Public Utilities Commission to build North Carolina's first large-scale wind mills on coastal property they own. ...The utilities commission did not vote on the proposal today, and may not take action for a couple of months. Many residents of the coastal community of Bettie, where the Pauls own property, oppose the windmills, which would stand nearly 500 feet tall.
Fears of spoiled views and banged-up birds have led to years of appeals and at least one outright ban of wind turbines in some places. A different story has played out in Currituck County over the past five months, leading to one of the first countywide wind energy ordinances in North Carolina. Approved unanimously by the Board of Commissioners Tuesday night, the ordinance makes erecting a single wind turbine up to 120 feet tall a relatively easy process. Larger projects would require commissioner approval, and in some cases a public hearing and environmental impact study.
Currituck commissioners tonight will consider a new ordinance that could pave the way for the installation of electricity-generating wind turbines throughout the county. Commissioners are being asked to consider two proposals that would allow residents and business owners the ability to generate their own electricity. One, recommended by county staffers and the Currituck Planning Commission, requires the applicant to receive a special-use permit to install a wind turbine. Under the proposal, wind turbines would be subject to setback, design and height restrictions. The other proposal, put forward by East Coast Windpower, a company that wants to install wind turbines, would allow turbines in all zoning districts without a special use permit, but restrict their height to 60 feet. ...The setback between a turbine and U.S. Highway 158, N.C. Highway 168, and N.C. Highway 12 would have to be 750 feet. A utility-scale facility would have to have a minimum lot size of 25 acres, and the turbine could be no taller than 500 feet. The setback between occupied building and the turbine would have to be 750 feet.
Currituck's strong coastal winds are quickly turning the county into a magnet for companies hoping to sell electricity-generating wind turbines. Several companies have expressed interest in selling wind turbines in Currituck, including one headquartered in Spain and another from Maryland. ...The only holdup to the use of wind power in Currituck right now is the lack of a county ordinance controlling turbines' placement, installation and use. "The only thing even close our ordinance allows is windmills," Woody said, adding that the devices are generally only up to 35 feet in height and used to move water or crush rock.
Coastal breezes and a new state law are attracting the first plans for tall wind turbines in northeastern North Carolina, but success depends on their effect on coastal views. ...Maps show the coast is a good place to generate wind-powered energy, but opponents say tall turbines could spoil coastal scenery and weaken tourism. In June, the western North Carolina resort town of Blowing Rock banned wind turbines over concerns that the towers would clutter mountain views. But a new North Carolina law requires utility companies to buy 10 percent of their power from renewable energy sources by 2018.
Kill Devil Hills resident Manny Medeiros questioned many of the claims, asserting it would take a swath from New York to the Outer Banks to provide the power that a nuclear plant could give. He said he felt the turbines were eyesores and produce only a fraction of the power of conventional energy sources. "It's like comparing lightning to a lightning bug," he said.
The N.C. Utilities Commission dismissed Calhoun's application Friday, saying he provided insufficient information, despite being granted a 120-day extension. The commission denied the application nine days after Calhoun submitted a letter explaining that no financial institution was willing to invest in his project until the commission approved it. The project was also opposed by the Public Staff, the state's consumer agency in utility matters. The Public Staff concluded that wind turbines are barred in the mountains under the state's Mountain Ridge Protection Act of 1983. The law prohibits the construction of buildings or structures more than 40 feet tall on mountain ridges, but it exempts windmills. Wind power advocates say the windmill exemption allows wind turbines, but the interpretation is unclear. The Public Staff relied on a 2002 legal opinion from the state Attorney General, who concluded that the 1983 law bars commercial-scale wind-power operations.
The N.C. utilities commission dismissed yesterday an application for a commercial wind farm in the Ashe County community of Creston. Last July's application by Northwest Wind Developers to put up 25 to 28 wind turbines created uproar in the mountains, with some people complaining that 300-foot tall turbines would ruin tourism, views and real-estate values. But there were many supporters, too, people who said that the nation needs renewable energy and that wind power is a good source. It would have been the state's first commercial wind farm. For all the hoopla, though, Northwest Wind Developers never really did say just how tall the turbines would be or exactly where they would be, or provide other details the utilities commission had requested at a February hearing in Raleigh. The failure to provide a complete application is the reason for dismissing the case, according to an order issued yesterday by the utilities commission. Northwest could file a new application later, the order said.
A small scale green revolution is under way in Camden County as interest grows in windmill power. That interest has energized County Planning Director Dan Porter, who is faced with drawing up policies on wind power, after the county received its first applications for windmills to generate electricity. "We've had one homeowner in a subdivision that got interested and wanted to know if he could put up a 65-foot wind meter to determine whether it was suitable for a windmill," Porter said Monday. "We don't currently have any regulations on windmills," he said.
An Ashe County man trying to build a commercial wind farm in Creston said yesterday that he doesn't have the money to continue to do studies requested by the N.C. Utilities Commission. Richard Calhoun of Northwest Wind Developers is asking for conditional permission to move forward with the project, but he said that his application could be dismissed before an Aug. 8 hearing. The public staff of the utilities commission is recommending that the project be denied because Calhoun hasn't submitted the requested information and because it believes that wind turbines violate the state's Ridge Law, which prohibits tall buildings or structures on protected ridges.
Ashe County Commissioners voted unanimously this week to adopt a new ordinance regulating the size and placement of wind power systems in unincorporated areas of the county....A 135-foot height limit was placed on small systems while large systems can reach as high as 199 feet - a number the commission said was based on Federal Aviation Administration regulations requiring lighting to warn aircraft of air space hazards.
The Ashe County Board of Commissioners adopted a wind-energy ordinance yesterday that limits wind-turbine heights to 199 feet as measured to the tip of the turbine's blade. The new rules replace those that commissioners adopted in February as they hurried to get county-wide regulations in place before the first N.C. Utilities Commission hearing on a proposed commercial wind farm of 25 to 28 turbines in Creston. The utilities commission's hearings are scheduled in August, and the commissioners have been reviewing the ordinance. The regulations are effective immediately because the commissioners voted unanimously on the matter. Their 5-0 vote followed a short public hearing.
Ashe County commissioners voted unanimously today to adopt a new county wind-energy ordinance. The new version takes the place of one adopted in February. It limits the total height of wind turbines to 199 feet. That means that the turbines would not require aircraft warning lights. The new stipulation pleases residents, including those who objected because the turbines would be illuminated at night. The revised ordinance takes effect immediately.