LONG BEACH TOWNSHIP – The township Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance that would better regulate the installation of energy-producing windmills, despite wind energy proponents saying the regulations are too restrictive.
The ordinance, which was approved during the Board of Commissioners meeting Friday, prohibits windmills on lots smaller than 2 acres, requires a setback of 100 feet from the property line and sets maximum size of the windmill at 40 feet. The board approved the measure after a half hour debate on the issue.
Joe Petralia, a resident of the Loveladies section of the township, said the ordinance is fueled by fear.
“This ordinance is being fed by hysteria,” Petralia said. “The worst kind of pollution is mind pollution and that is what is happening here.”
Petralia’s wife, Nancy, said the township is overreaching when it comes to the ordinance.
“I think that you need to wait until there is more information,” Nancy Petralia said. “We are rushing into this.”
Mayor Joseph Mancini said the township took its time in developing the ordinance.
“This is not a knee jerk reaction,” Mancini said. “The reason that we are passing this ordinance is so that people interested in putting them up have to come through the Planning Board and their neighbors are notified.”
Dave Williams, a resident of the Loveladies section of the township, said the ordinance is a good place to start.
“This is an ordinance that can be changed,’’ Williams said. “It’s a good place to start right now.’’
The township has had issues related to the energy-generating windmills.
In 2007, two residents sued a neighbor who had a 35-foot-high windmill. The lawsuit claimed the windmill created a public nuisance.
The neighbors also claimed it was noisy, disturbed their sleep and produced “strobe-like” shadows on their property from noon until sundown.
The lawsuit prompted the commissioners to begin discussing an ordinance that would prohibit energy-producing windmills from being built in town. As part of a 2009 settlement, the homeowner was forced to take down the windmill.
In the past, the township had an ordinance that allowed only decorative windmills not exceeding 12 feet in height.
Mancini said as technology changes, the ordinance can be revisited to address those issues.
“We’re not closing the gate on wind energy. I just want your neighbors to know when this happens, because its affects them too,’’ Mancini said. “This is a living document and can be changed.’’
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