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City groups looking at meteorological tower for Windmill Island

DeZwaan windmill’s days as the tallest structure on Windmill Island Gardens might be numbered.

Some city agencies are circulating paperwork through the system with an end goal of installing an industrial wind turbine in Windmill Island Gardens.

The Zoning Board of Appeals will examine, Thursday, July 24, whether it will allow the Board of Public Works to build a meteorological tower and needs comments from the planning commission.

The police, fire, city manager’s office and other departments are required to comment on conditional use permit requests – required when a project requires extra review because it could have adverse impacts on neighbors.

The 197-foot tall meteorological tower would have a 380-foot diameter footprint and would measure wind speed, duration and other information to determine whether an industrial grade wind turbine should be installed on the island.

DeZwaan is 125 feet tall.

“I’m all for it. I just think the power plant would be the ideal place for it,” Commissioner Jerry Tonnini said.

However, he quickly ceded to the attraction of a century-old windmill next to a 21st century design.

The wind turbine, if installed, could generate up to 2.5 megawatts of power and stand between 328 and 492 feet high including the rotors.

The initial tower would be up for a year to 18 months. The turbine project, if approved, would take at least three years, according to city documents.

The planning commission unanimously approved sending its recommendation for approval on to the ZBA.

“We also encourage this action and we support it fully,” Councilman and Commissioner Jerome Kobes said.

By Andrea Goodell

The Holland Sentinel

22 July 2008