MEDFORD – The Pinelands Commission has signed off on an ordinance adopted by the Township Council that removes windmills and other structures from a list of structures that were previously exempt from height restrictions.
The Township Council adopted an ordinance in December revising the section on height limitations in its land development ordinance.
The ordinance adopted required a formal review and approval by the Pinelands Commission because the section of the township south of Route 70 is in the protected Pinelands.
The ordinance eliminates monuments, windmills, chimneys, smokestacks, derricks, conveyors, masts and solar energy facilities from a list of structures that are exempt from height limitations. That means special permission would have to be granted by the township Zoning Board for those structures above a certain height.
The Pinelands’ Comprehensive Management Plan, the rules that govern the 1.1 million-acre Pinelands reserve, sets a 35-foot limit in all Pinelands management areas other than regional growth areas.
Windmills, chimneys, and other such structures are still exempt from the limitation under the Pinelands rules.
The township, however, decided it no longer wanted to include an exemption for those structures, said Dennis Funaro, Medford’s planning administrator.
The township’s decision was based on concerns raised during the approval process for an application for two wind turbines on 120-foot towers.
Medford resident Peter Romanoli, who lives on Hartford Road, was granted approval last year for the installation of the two wind turbines on his property.
The wind turbine operates like a large fan and transforms the kinetic energy of the wind into electrical energy. It is considered one of the most cost-effective renewable energy systems available.
Funaro said the Zoning Board agreed last year that a turbine is classified as a windmill.
Residents who now apply to construct windmills taller than 35 feet would have to obtain a height variance from the Zoning Board, Funaro said.
Structures such as silos, church spires, water towers and fire observation towers are among the structures that remain exempt from Medford’s height regulations, according to the ordinance.
By Ed Moorhouse
Burlington County Times
13 April 2007
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