SOUTH HAVEN – City Council members are open to the idea of allowing wind turbines up to 400 feet tall in part of the city.
But after reviewing the proposal, the city Planning Commission last week made a formal recommendation back to the council: No turbines taller than 200 feet.
The city allows, without special use permits, turbines up to 75 feet anywhere in the city, said city Zoning Administrator Bill Spaeth.
The Planning Commission has been studying possible changes to wind turbine regulations for several months, but the City Council sent the matter back to planners for more work after the commission made its initial recommendations.
The proposal as drafted by the Planning Commission would require all wind turbines to have a special use permit, Spaeth said.
It would also create two categories of wind turbines.
The first would be turbines up to 40 feet tall, which would be allowed anywhere in the city as long as the city approves the special use permit, Spaeth said.
The second category would be turbines between 40 and 200 feet. Those turbines would only be allowed in the B-4 business, or I-1 and I-2 industrial districts, an area that includes south of Aylworth Avenue and east of Kalamazoo Street and Blue Star Memorial Highway, Spaeth said.
But the planners don’t want to see the creation of a third category as recommended by the City Council, Spaeth said.
That category would be for turbines between 200 and 400 feet, east of I-196 in the I-1 and I-2 industrial zones, he said.
City Manager Brian Dissette said the City Council will consider the Planning Commission recommendation at its Dec. 6 meeting.
The council has the ultimate authority over what regulations will be approved, regardless of the planners’ recommendation.