Proposed wind turbine rules for the Halifax Regional Municipality will make it difficult to have green energy projects in business parks, a wind developer says.
Dan Roscoe, chief operating officer of Scotian WindFields Inc., said not many properties in Burnside, for instance, are large enough to accommodate proposed setbacks for turbines in business parks.
“All the business parks, where the majority of the heavy (industry) takes place, are going to be restricted from using renewable energy,” Roscoe said in an interview.
According to a municipal staff report, regional council is planning to give first reading Tuesday to proposed changes affecting wind turbines, and will set a public hearing date.
Staff is recommending council adopt planned amendments to planning and land-use rules, changes that must be made if the wind energy scheme is to go forward.
The wind energy rules, which have been in the works since November 2006, don’t allow turbines in downtown Halifax, downtown Dartmouth or on Sackville Drive.
Turbines are permitted in business parks and select marine industrial locations.
In other urban areas, micro, small and medium turbines of up to 60 metres in height are allowed. A 60-metre turbine would require a 60-metre setback from an adjacent property line, 90 metres from an adjacent commercial or industrial building and 250 metres from a house or hospital.
Setback requirements would vary, depending on the turbine’s height.
Roscoe, who’s seen a draft version of the rules, said Burnside currently has no setbacks for turbines or anything else.
“You can go right up to the property line with whatever you want – a cellphone tower, a crane, a highrise building – it doesn’t matter. For wind turbines, they’re putting in a higher standard than for anything else.”
Business parks in Burnside, Woodwide and Goodwood each have one turbine, Roscoe said.
He said more businesses are becoming interested in having turbines as fossil fuel costs escalate.
Roscoe said he and other business representatives have made their concerns known to officials and will do so again if councillors agree to amend planning and land-use rules.
A spokesman for the Greater Burnside Business Association couldn’t be reached Friday afternoon for comment.
In rural areas, the proposed rules would allow turbines that are more than 60 metres high.
A turbine that’s taller than 60 metres would have to be 90 metres from an adjacent property line and 550 metres from an adjacent home.
Turbines wouldn’t be allowed in regional parks, protected or conservation areas or on the Western Commons.
City staff is urging councillors to give a blanket approval for turbine construction as long as the project conforms to regulations.
“Mixed opinions” about this so-called right zoning approach were expressed at 18 public meetings held across the municipality since March 2007, the staff report notes.
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