[Note: In February 2014 this ordinance was revised to establish a 1-mile setback, a 275-ft height limit, and a 35-dB noise limit at property lines.]
Minimum Wind Turbine Setback from any Property Line, Public or Private r-o-w, and/or
Access Easement —
Small System (up to 25 kW, max. ht. 60 ft.) Attached to a house: None
Small System (up to 25 kW, max. ht. 75 feet) Not attached to a house: 1 foot for each foot of height from any property line and 1 foot for each foot of height from any vacant or occupied dwelling unit on the same property (but If the Planning Director or designee determines there will be no significant impact on abutting properties or those across a stream, lake, or other body of water, no such setback is required from the waterward property line for a turbine placed in a body of water or on a dock or pier)
Large System (more than 25 kW and less than 1,000 kW, max. ht. 199 feet): 1,300 feet
Utility-scale (max. ht. 550 feet): 6 feet for each foot of height
Such minimum setbacks for a wind energy facility shall be measured from its outermost extension (whether blade tip, nacelle/turbine housing, or tower/pole edge) that is nearest the subject property line, public or private r-o-w, and access easement. Wind Turbine Height: The distance measured from the lowest adjacent grade to the highest point of the structure, including any attachments, such as a lightening protection device or a turbine rotor or tip of the turbine blade when it reaches its highest elevation.
The Large System or Utility-scale Wind Energy Facility shall:
A. Be a non-obtrusive color (such as light blue, off-white or light gray) that blends with the sky, as determined by the Planning Director or designee.
B. Not be artificially lighted, except to the extent required by the Federal Aviation Administration or other applicable authority that regulates air safety.
C. Not contain any signs or other advertising (including flags, streamers or decorative items or any identification of the turbine manufacturer, facility owner and operator). This does not include any identification plaques that might be required by the electric utility or governmental agency.
D. Be maintained to minimize noise from the turbine, any engines or motors, and the blades or propellers.
E. Be sited and operated so as to not interfere with television, internet service, telephone (including cellular and digital), microwave, satellite (dish), navigational, or radio reception in neighboring areas. The applicant and/or operator of the facility shall be responsible for the full cost of any remediation necessary to provide equivalent alternate service or correct any problems; including relocation or removal of the facility caused or exacerbated by the operation of such equipment and any and all related transmission lines, transformers, and other components related thereto.
F. Have a leak containment system for oil, hydraulic fluids, and other non-solids that is certified by an expert (such as an engineer, turbine manufacturer, etc.) acceptable to the Planning Director or designee that all such fluids will be captured before they reach the ground. The applicant shall pay the cost of the expert.
The applicant shall provide a shadow flicker and blade glint report for each proposed wind energy facility. The report shall:
A. Evaluate the worst case scenarios of wind constancy, sunshine constancy, and wind directions and speeds.
B. Map and describe the zones where shadow flicker and blade glint will likely be present within the project boundary and a one-mile radius beyond the project boundary.
C. Identify existing residences and the locations of their windows, locations of other structures, wind speeds and directions, and existing vegetation and roadways.
D. Calculate the locations of shadow flicker caused by the proposed project and the expected durations of the flicker at these locations, including outdoor viewsheds.
E. Calculate the total number of hours per year of flicker at all locations, including the outdoor viewshed.
F. Identify problem zones within a one-mile radius where shadow flicker will interfere with existing or future residences and roadways and describe proposed measures to mitigate these problems.
Based upon the findings of the report, the wind energy facility shall be designed so that shadow flicker or blade glint will not fall on or in any roadway or occupied property.
A. Shadow flicker or blade glint that falls on a portion of an occupied property is acceptable only under the following circumstances:
1. The flicker or glint does not exceed 120 seconds per day for 7 consecutive days, with a 20-hour maximum per year and
2. The flicker or glint falls more than 100 feet from an existing residence or business property.
B. Shadow flicker or blade glint that falls on a roadway is acceptable only under the following circumstances:
1. The traffic volumes are less than 500 vehicles per day on the roadway and
2. The flicker or glint shall not fall onto an intersection of public roads.
No Large System or Utility-scale wind energy facility or any generators, equipment, or apparatus shall produce noise above 45 decibels for more than 5 consecutive minutes, as measured at any property line. … If noise levels exceed 80 decibels for more than 24 consecutive hours, as measured at any property line, the applicant and/or owner shall shut down the wind energy facility within 3 (three) business days of being informed to do so by the Planning Director or designee.
This article is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.
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