GRAYSLAKE – Village trustees initiated consideration on a potential ordinance Tuesday night that will provide for installing small wind energy systems in non-residential areas.
“Grayslake has always attempted to be in the forefront of addressing environmental issues,” Zoning Officer Kirk Smith said.
However, he made it clear that staff, at this point, does not recommend allowing small wind turbines in, or adjacent to, residential areas.
Mayor Rhett Taylor suggested the Village Board consider two possibility paths: Should the village approve a wind energy ordinance, and if so what should it require? And, should the village approve a special-use variance for a test case to locate two such turbines on property owned by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers at Route 45 and Casey Road?
The IBEW had approached the village over a year ago with such a possibility indicating the turbine would be used as a union training facility. Standards would have to conform to those defined by the Zoning Board of Appeals and proposals from the Lake County Wind Energy Task Force.
Trustee Jeff Werfel said he supported the IBEW proposal, but was concerned about maximum tower height, suggesting it be limited to 57 feet. He also suggested each installation should be required to obtain a special-use zoning permit.
Following discussion, the board agreed in principal and recommended to the ZBA the following seven points must be included in any draft ordinance:
• Adoption of a draft ordinance for non-residential use only at this time.
• Adoption of the technical aspects of the ordinance (i.e. noise requirements, shadow flicker, etc.)
• Architectural style and color must be compatible with neighboring buildings as determined by the village’s architectural review process.
• Prohibit construction of turbines in front yards.
• Include maximum height and setbacks as stipulated in a draft ordinance.
• Require issuance of a special-use permit for any type and number of wind turbine systems.
• Turbines must be part of an accompanying non-residential use and not be for “stand alone” use.
Village Manager Mike Ellis said the points defined by the trustees and staff would be helpful in guiding the ZBA in drafting an appropriate ordinance. This will then return to the Village Board for final approval later.
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