New Berlin – While New Berlin isn’t worrying about wind farms coming to the city, the Common Council is working on adding specifics to its general rules governing windmills for home use.
Those are wind generators that produce up to 100 kilowatts.
Even though New Berlin has a lot of farmland, wind farms are unlikely given the absence of land that would appear to be suitable for a wind farm and large turbine generators, City Attorney Mark Blum wrote to the council when advising it to focus on the smaller windmills. Other communities also are regulating only the smaller wind energy systems, he wrote.
The proposed new rules will go to the Common Council for a preliminary vote as early as June 12.
The current windmill ordinance already says they can’t interfere with television and radio reception. The proposed code adds telephone reception. While the current setback for them is the same as for other structures and no closer than their height, the proposed code would have windmills set back far enough to eliminate any health effects from factors such as noise and shadow flicker. It, too, would have them set as far back as they are tall.
In addition, windmill blades would be at least 20 feet above the ground, under the new code and the windmills could not be lighted unless the Federal Aviation Administration requires lights.
Allowable noise could be brought down from a maximum of 72 decibels to 50, under the proposed rules. Similarly, steady whines, screeching or hums not produced under normal conditions would be prohibited.
Besides the other city permit requirements, windmills also would need a wind energy permit. Among other things, they would require a survey map showing buildings, overhead wires, rights of way, plus manufacture’s specifications that give among other things the noise to be expected.
Also, if a windmill isn’t used for a year, the city could deem it to be abandoned and then the owner would have 90 days to remove it.
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