Niagara-on-the-Lake will likely be the first municipality in the Niagara region to pass regulations governing the erection of wind-energy turbines.
Zoning bylaw and official plan amendments to regulate the installation of the machines were approved by the planning advisory committee Monday following a public meeting.
Only one resident, Charlene Quevillon, spoke at the meeting, raising concerns about noise and the visual and environmental impact of the turbines.
“Turbines are not generally well-suited within much of Niagara-on-the-Lake,” said Quevillon, noting that “agricultural areas outside of the urban areas are far from rural. These areas are well-populated and … better referred to as country residential.”
She also suggested that when the town receives an application for the erection of a turbine, all residents who could potentially be affected be contacted for input before approval is granted.
The town had passed an interim control bylaw two years ago to prohibit the installation of wind-energy turbines until research had been completed by a consulting firm and regulations were approved. A second interim control bylaw expires May 7.
According to a staff report, the proposed changes to the official plan and zoning bylaw “build on provincial policy to support the use of alternative energy supplies and provide a balance between … the opportunity for wind-energy turbines to be introduced into the town (with) a regulatory framework that manages their location given the idiosyncrasies of this community.”
The report proposes that multiple large wind-energy turbines, higher than 100 metres, not be permitted in the municipality.
The installation of these structures would require approval from both the Region and town council and would only be allowed outside a one-kilometre radius from urban and cultural heritage areas.
Individual large- and medium-scale machines, greater than 36 metres in height, would be permitted for use in agricultural areas. Small turbines, over 16.6 metres high, would be allowed on industrial and agricultural properties.
Micro turbines, which are less than 16 metres, could be attached to the rear of buildings in residential areas. However, none of the turbines would be allowed in the heritage districts or on designated buildings.
Each application would have to go to town council for site plan approval, except for the micro turbines, which would require approval from staff.
The proposed amendments go to town council for final approval on Monday.
By Suzanne Mason
23 April 2008
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