It’s back to the drawing board for the Banning planning department, which has been developing regulations for small wind-energy turbines.
Instead of recommending that the City Council adopt or reject the rules, the Banning Planning Commission recently asked city officials to research the matter further. This was the second time the commission sought more information.
The planning department proposal was to amend the city’s zoning code to allow installation of small wind-energy turbines in certain areas, provided the applicant obtains a permit. Small turbines would be allowed in districts zoned rural residential, very low density residential, open space, professional office, industrial, airport industrial, business park, public facilities-airport, public facilities-schools, public facilities-hospitals, public facilities-fire and public facilities-government.
A property would have to be at least 1 acre for a turbine to be permitted, and there also would be setback requirements.
A planning department report states that the purpose for changing the zoning ordinance is to allow installation of wind turbines that are small and primarily intended to reduce the on-site consumption of utility power. It says large wind turbines and wind farms are outside the proposal’s scope.
At Wednesday night’s commission meeting, city officials said the turbines would primarily be allowed in rural south Banning.
Commissioner Kevin Siva expressed concerns about the noise turbines make, how safe they are, the $5,000 cost of a permit, and the fact that the proposal would preclude those in urban areas from having wind turbines.
Community Development Director Zai Abu Bakar said the proposal stemmed from people inquiring about a small wind-energy turbine that the municipal electric department is testing. Officials wanted to start small with this proposal and see how many requests for wind turbine installations the city receives, she said.
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