BEAUFORT – Carteret County planners got a look this week at a first draft of proposed rules for wind turbines, but they are letting the public have a say before they finalize anything.
Public meetings will be held in the western, central and eastern areas of the county in May and June to present the proposed rules to the public and get citizen input.
“The more people who are involved, the more people who participate, the better the end result,” said Planning Commission Chairman Harry Archer.
The Carteret County Board of Commissioners in March implemented a nine-month moratorium on electricity generating wind turbines and others tall structures to give county planners time to develop regulations on their development and location.
The moratorium came on the heels of opposition to a proposed wind energy project in the Down East community of Bettie that would put three utility-scale turbines on a 33-acre site off Golden Farm Road.
The county planning staff has developed an early draft of the wind energy section of the new tall structures ordinance and presented it to the planning commission at its meeting Thursday.
Assistant Planning Director Jim Jennings said the staff looked at ordinances adopted in other counties and has primarily modeled the Carteret County rules after an ordinance in Currituck County. The ordinance was recently adopted and was co-developed with the N.C. Wind Energy group.
“This gets the conversation started,” Jennings said after the meeting.
Large-scale wind energy facilities would be regulated separately from small ones used primarily for on-site consumption and would require approval of a Wind Energy Permit Application.
The proposal addresses requirements for minimum lot sizes, setbacks and the height of structures depending on their type.
It limits small, roof-mounted turbines to no more than 60 feet and small systems built on the ground to 75 feet.
For every foot of height, small ground turbines would have to sit 1.5 feet from any property line, public or private right-of-way or access easement and be located on a minimum lot size of 15,000 square feet.
A system classified as large would require a minimum of five acres of land and a turbine height limit of 199 feet. The setback would be two feet for every foot of height.
The maximum height of turbines for a utility-scale project would be 500 feet with a 2.5-foot setback for each foot of height. The minimum lot size would be 25 acres.
The planning commission did not discuss the contents of the draft regulations but heard from residents with an interest in the ordinance.
Public safety is a particular concern for Stephanie Miscovich, who lives near the site of the proposed wind energy project in Bettie.
Carteret County sits in a hurricane-prone area and when regulating structures that stand hundreds of feet tall she believes the impacts of high winds at higher altitudes should be given consideration.
She suggested the county also take a look at ordinances for skyscrapers.
Miscovich said the county can have wind energy without putting the public at risk by keeping large utility-scale wind turbines out of residential areas.
“We have plenty of remote area, so this commission can establish regulations that fully protect the public by keeping utility-scale turbines out of residential areas without hindering wind energy development in our county,” she told the board.
Daily News Staff
21 April 2008
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding