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Holland Zoning Board of Appeals approves variance for tower

Holland, MI – A 197-foot tall meteorological tower would have a 380-foot diameter footprint and measure wind speed, duration and other information to determine whether an industrial grade wind turbine should be installed on Windmill Island Gardens.

DeZwaan windmill is 125 feet tall.

The island has its own zone tied to a fizzled-out plan for a village there with homes, businesses and other amenities. The zoning there would allow a structure up to 160 feet tall. The Holland Zoning Board of Appeals approved a variance to allow the 197-foot tower Thursday, July 24.

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.

Earlier this week, the planning commission unanimously approved sending its recommendation for approval on to the board.

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

If the Holland Board of Public Works does decide it wants a wind turbine there, it would have to go through the city council-zoning board of appeals-planning commission approval process again.

A state Senate bill would require Michigan utilities to make 3.5 percent of its energy portfolio renewable energy by 2015. A state House bill would make that number 10 percent.

For Holland, that amount of energy would take eight to 23 wind turbines, Mike Radakovitz, BPW planning engineering manager said.

One turbine costs between $3 and $4 million, Radakovitz said.

“We want to make sure before we spend that kind of money that it makes economic sense,” he said.

The BPW has permission from the city, which owns the island, from the planning commission and from the zoning board now. The last step is to draw up a contract with the city.

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

By Andrea Goodell

The Holland Sentinel

24 July 2008