DUNCAN – The Duncan Municipal Planning Commission began looking into a possible land development code Tuesday for wind turbines on property in Duncan.
Community Development Director Dana Schoening said several community members have approached him recently with questions regarding the installment of wind turbines on city-owned property to try and help cut costs of power consumption.
“It seems like this only comes up when it’s real windy out, but I promised I would get this on the agenda because it is something that is gaining in popularity,” Schoening said.
Schoening said one property owner in particular asked him about putting one on their agriculture property within city limits. Since then, he has researched several other cities’ ordinances pertaining to the matter, and presented the information to the planning commission during Tuesday’s meeting.
An example of an ordinance that Schoening presented boasted several comments from the commission’s chair, Donna Dewey.
“If I were someone in the community looking at all of these provisions, I wouldn’t even bother,” Dewey said.
Schoening added this was only one community’s ordinance for wind turbines, but many of the provisions would most likely be considered in making an ordinance for Duncan.
“We could also make this for ag property only or industrial property only too,” Schoening said. “But it would be difficult for any residential property owners to do this.”
However, he said the return for residential wind turbines is not as profitable as one on ag or industrial properties.
“There’s just not enough return there,” Schoening said.
He said to build a proper wind turbine, and to do everything correctly would cost between $20,000 and $25,000, but the total money saved wouldn’t be enough to cover that cost for a long period of time.
Currently, Red River Technology Center is the only property in Duncan with a wind turbine, but Schoening said it was installed under the tower ordinance and for an educational facility.
“If someone wants to build a turbine, we could put it under that tower ordinance, but it would probably be good to consider an ordinance specifically for this so we have the answers to it in the future,” Schoening said.
The introduction of the information was simply to make the commission aware of an issue community members had brought to Schoening’s attention and no action was taken.
“We’re just scratching the surface with this matter,” he said.
Commissioners also discussed a possible advisory committee which would aid the commission in providing information and feedback concerning items in the comprehensive plan.
Commissioners discussed whether they would like this committee to be simply a group of citizens who are concerned for Duncan’s well being, or if it should form the group as an official entity. The latter would hold regular meetings and fall under the Open Meeting Act.
Commissioners agreed the committee should be formed and suggested they meet on a monthly basis. Those would mostly likely be in the week before planning commission meetings. Members would provide feedback and information regarding comprehensive plan implementation.
“The goal of this committee is to not let us drag our feet and get us as much information quickly so we can start putting this stuff into effect,” Dewey said.
The final implementation of this committee could be decided at the commission’s next meeting. Finally, planning commissioner Mike Nelson announced he will step down from his position on the commission to take on his new role as a Duncan city councilor.
“It’s been a great five years, it’s been a lot of fun,” Nelson said. “But since I have accepted this position, I must resign from the commission.” Nelson will be sworn in May 2 as the new city councilor for Duncan, Ward 2.
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