A wind-turbine bylaw under consideration by Pictou County council may include some of the province’s most restrictive conditions.
If the bylaw passes a public hearing and final readings next month, large wind turbines capable of supplying electricity to the power grid will have to be placed at least 600 metres from homes.
That’s the farthest distance legislated so far in Nova Scotia, said Pictou County Warden Allister MacDonald, adding that other jurisdictions call for a 500-metre setback.
The land-use bylaw, which applies to no other land use in Pictou County than wind turbines, calls for the structures to be at least 300 metres from public roads. Both utility and domestic turbines must be at least their own height from property lines in case they topple.
“We’ve listened to what the people had to say,” Mr. MacDonald said.
After council was approached by a development company last year, councillors met with developers, consultants and concerned residents to draft a bylaw and changed it seven times before its first reading this week.
“Council has stated very clearly it’s in favour of wind energy,” Mr. MacDonald said. “At the same time we have to protect the interests of the residents and the developers.”
The setback does not apply to residences on the same lot as wind turbines, to future homes built less than 600 metres from an already existing wind turbine or to later purchasers of those homes. The property line setback will be waived if adjacent properties are leased for a long term to the wind-turbine owner.
The bylaw does not restrict the number of turbines on a property as long as the setback rules are followed, but it does regulate the expansion of turbines existing before the bylaw’s introduction.
There are now three utility turbines in Pictou County – two on Fitzpatrick Mountain and one in Marshville – with more in the planning stages for other areas of the county.
By Monica Graham
10 August 2007
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