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Clay Banks will address wind energy

Town of Clay Banks residents can comment Saturday on a proposal for a local wind control ordinance that sets requirements that some residents believe is more comprehensive than Door County’s recently approved measure.

The public hearing is scheduled for 8 a.m. at the Clay Banks Town Hall.

The ordinance could be approved as early as April 10, when the town board meets after the annual meeting, according to Town Chairman Mike Johnson. The annual meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the Town Hall.

The six-member Clay Banks Wind Energy Committee has spent nearly a year drawing upon information from other municipalities, as well as scientific and agency data to address such issues as noise, setbacks and decommissioning.

The panel was formed by the Clay Banks Town Board last May after a local developer, Community Wind Energy LLC, proposed plans to build three wind turbines in the town. The committee drew on several sources, according to Doug Weimer, a member of the committee.

“If the noise situation is addressed correctly, the safety concerns for the setbacks would be addressed as well,” Weimer said.

When it revised Door County’s wind energy ordinance, members said the Resource Planning Committee drew on few, if any outside sources.

But Door County Planner Mariah Goode said the RPC used several sources last year when it revised the county ordinance.

Setbacks in the county ordinance for inhabited structures are two times the total height of a turbine or 1,000 feet, whichever is greater, she said.

The setbacks from property lines are either 1.1 times the total height of the turbine or the fall zone plus 10 percent of the total height of the turbine, whichever is greater.

In the town ordinance proposal, setbacks are listed at 2,640 feet or one-half mile from the nearest residences and other buildings.

Noise limits, according to the county measure, are set at 55 decibels when measured at the property line of any residence, school or other inhabited buildings and at 45 decibels inside any occupied property, Goode said

In the town ordinance proposal, indoor noise limits are set at no more than five decibels greater than the ambient background noise, Johnson said. Outdoors, the limit is set at 40 decibels.

In addition, Weimer said there is nothing in the county’s ordinance to address wetlands, sensitive environments, water bodies and public areas.

Those issues are addressed in other county ordinances, though, said Bob Ryan, a Door County supervisor and member of the Resource Planning Committee, which recommended the county proposal.

By Kurt Rentmeester
Advocate correspondent

Door County Advocate


2 April 2008