MACHIPONGO – Members of the Northampton County Board of Supervisors unanimously support including performance standards in a wind energy ordinance – but standards that are feasible in development of wind energy, and not deterrents.
In a special meeting of the board Thursday, the supervisors rescinded their action of Aug. 9 relating to Zoning Text Amendment 2011-09, which included new definitions pertaining to wind energy facilities and a new section of standards for wind turbines, and opened it up to discussion again.
The amendment was defeated at the Aug. 9 meeting by a 3-2 vote because of concerns that the standards were too restrictive. All of the members of the board had expressed support for wind energy development and concerns with some of the standards in the amendment as being too restrictive.
At the Aug. 18 meeting, Supervisors Willie Randall, Spencer Murray, Oliver Bennett, Larry Trala, and Sam Long Jr. were present and unanimously expressed their support for having performance standards in an ordinance regarding wind energy facilities.
“Clearly, we want some performance standards, we just don’t want to make it so restrictive that they don’t want to come here,” said Supervisor Willie Randall expressing the sentiment of the board.
The supervisors went over the 11- page performance standards section in Zoning Text Amendment 2011-09, with County Administrator Katie Nunez, Director of Planning and Zoning Sandra Benson, and Commonwealth Attorney Bruce Jones in attendance.
The board also heard from Roberta Kellam, member of the Planning Commission, and Sally McNeilan with Fugro Atlantic in discussion.
By consensus of the board, changes included increases in the shadow flicker limit from 15 minutes per day to 25 minutes per day, noise level not to exceed 45 decibels to 55 decibels, and the maximum height for a METMAST within a wind energy test facility from 500 feet to 550 feet, and some additions and deletions in text.
A draft document will be developed based on the meeting, and a determination will be made upon analysis whether the changes are substantial enough to require a public hearing before the proposed amendment to the zoning ordinance can be voted on by the board.
The board hopes to be able to vote on the proposed amendment at its Sept. 13 meeting.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding