After reviewing the Draft Zoning By-Law (number 4.11.1) pertaining to wind farms in Chatham-Kent (these can be seen at www.ckwag.org or on the C-K website), I feel some of its shortcomings must be brought to the public’s attention.
The setback from an industrial wind turbine to a home is smaller than the setback to an industrial zone. Since the wind turbines themselves are industrial, this would seem to be an absurd policy.
The setback from property lines and roadways is 50 metres. Since the turbines are 120 m. tall, if one should fall, throw ice, or parts, etc. it would damage neighbouring and/or municipal property. This will also affect what citizens can do in the future with their property (i.e.: not being able to build a barn, or house, or any number of future opportunities that will be curtailed) and so, will be infringing on their rights.
The setback from an off-site residential dwelling (a house on a non-leased farm for example) is 300 m., while the setback is 600 m. from a rural residential home (i.e. a house on a severed rural lot). Isn’t a home – a home? That is, a place where people live, regardless of its zoning?
Current international standards for distances between industrial wind turbines and homes are in the range of 1,500 to 1,800 m. with trends to construction offshore. France has stopped wind turbine development in rural areas and near villages, allowing them only in brownfield (unpopulated, unproductive) areas. Doctors have recommended turbines be at least 2,400 m. from residences.
I believe that it is ridiculous to expect every affected individual (this could number in the thousands, since over 500 turbines are currently proposed for Chatham-Kent) to have to submit an objection and present their case to council when proper zoning by-laws could be written to protect the people of Chatham-Kent and avoid all these problems.
The municipality plans to amend our current zoning to allow this irresponsible development on Feb. 11. Concerned citizens can voice their objections to council at that time by calling 519-354-4351 in advance.
It would be prudent to develop proper by-laws to protect the health, happiness and rights of the citizens of Chatham-Kent and to avoid much unnecessary legal action. Ultimately, all Chatham-Kent taxpayers will pay for such ill-conceived plans.
Monica Elmes Ridgetown
5 February 2008
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