Because it is uncharted territory, Community Development Director Gordon Hydukovich is requesting a temporary moratorium on wind turbines.
The city attorney will be asked during Tuesday’s Fergus Falls City Council meeting to draft such an ordinance. It is necessary, Hydukovich said, until city code can be written clearly stating where they can be placed. The moratorium was prompted by an individual requesting to place a turbine in a residential area. Another request was submitted by an industrial user in the city.
“It’s much like when cell towers (came into being),” Hydukovich said. “There was no code to go by.”
It is unlikely there ever would be one placed in a residential area,” Hydukovich said.
“If there ever was one allowed in the city, it would probably be in a part of town zoned industrial.”
Things to be considered, Hydukovich said, are safety setbacks – how far away from a residential area should wind turbines be?
“They do make noise,” he said. “And if anything happened, we want to make sure they’re a safe distance away.”
A wind turbine on the grounds of Vinco, Inc. located outside city limits, became operational last summer. It produces electricity equivalent to burning six tons of coal per year, a Vinco representative said during the turbine dedication last August. As the turbine was turned on into a 14 mph wind, it was producing 22 kilowatts of power.
A bill signed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty a year ago requires 25 percent of the state’s electricity to come from next-generation power sources by 2025. Minnesota ranks ninth in the country as states most viable for wind energy. North Dakota tops the list, with South Dakota in fourth place.
By Susan Larson
18 February 2008
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