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Lacey officials postpone decision on wind turbine plan

LACEY – After five months of deliberation, a decision on whether to allow 10 wind turbines to be added to a Walmart parking lot was postponed until January by the township Board of Adjustment.

During a Monday night, members of the board said the project is expected to be approved, but a list of conditions would first have to be drawn up and reviewed, according to board secretary Susan Connor.

The project proposed by OminiWind Energy Systems of Dublin, Pa. calls for the installation of 10 wind turbines to generate electrical power. The turbines will be 54 feet high on lamp posts with new fixtures and foundations in the Walmart parking lot at 580 Route 9.

Carl Douglas, the president and co-founder of OmniWind Energy Systems, said each turbine is expected to provide about 4,000 kilowatt hours of energy annually.

The store in Lacey is one of four Walmarts in the country that are part of a pilot cost-saving program with OmniWind to install power generating windmills, according to Douglas.

OminiWind’s original plan called for 14 wind turbines to be placed on the property, which could generate about two percent of the Lacey Walmart’s energy needs. The company reduced the number of wind turbines to 10 after the township board objected to the location of four of the proposed turbines.

Wind systems are not a permitted use in the township, which is why OmniWind was required to apply for variances to extend the lighting poles to 54 feet. Township law allows poles a maximum height of 35 feet.

The plan also calls for the turbines to be 8 feet in diameter with 4-foot blades and includes a setback area from the nearest property boundary at about 81 feet.

Douglas has been telling the public and board members for months that the blades used in the operating system would not create any noise.

Connor said Tuesday that board members Colleen Bradley and Joseph Appello visited four OmniWind sites in Pennsylvania last month where the same wind turbine technology is used by the company.

She said both board members said during the meeting that they were impressed by the technology involved and the lack of sound that the wind turbines produced.

Board Chairman Tim McDonald said previously that the system would require annual testing. One of the conditions being considered is a quarterly testing schedule.