While Indian Wells is on a path to sustainability, city officials said they want to take careful steps.
The Indian Wells City Council has unanimously approved an urgency ordinance that establishes a moratorium on roof-mounted wind turbines for homes and businesses within the city.
The moratorium, which expires Jan. 31, is expected to allow time for city staff to research federal and state laws and find out if there are any issues for the city, such as health and environmental risks.
“We want to walk slowly into this direction as new technology is emerging,” said Mayor Patrick Mullany.
Community Development Director Corrie Kates said he already plans to host a public hearing Jan. 20 to request an extension for 10 months and 15 days to allow city staff to develop a zoning code to either allow the windmills with regulations or prohibit them in the city.
An additional one-year extension may be approved by the council, if needed.
“There isn’t really a great concern it just came to us quickly and since the city hadn’t considered this before, we needed enough time to look into it and get resident input,” said Mayor Pro Tem Douglas Hanson.
An urgency ordinance recommended by city staff is rare. The last urgency ordinance came before the city in 2007 about a ban on medical marijuana dispensaries, Kates said.
The city has received calls from companies that want to provide solar services within the city while also providing wind turbines for free to homeowners and businesses, Kates said.
The proposed turbines vary in size but are generally as big as a typical television satellite dish. Kates also told the council that depending on the shape and size, about five of the mini turbines can power a home.
“We just want to get an ordinance in the books so that not all of a sudden, overnight, the city crops up with a bunch of houses with these windmills on their roofs,” Mullany said. “The city has to stay awake and make sure we’re on top of what we allow and don’t allow.”
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