RANCHO CUCAMONGA – The city of Rancho Cucamonga will allow residents of larger properties to apply for a wind energy permit.
For now, only owners of larger properties in “Very Low” or “VL” residential districts will be allowed to obtain a permit for a wind energy tower. Setback requirements would mean the tower would be placed in “large backyards” and not in front of a home, according to officials.
The new systems are meant as a supplemental energy source for a household. The new policy change is part of a development code update for the city, and is also part of the city’s Healthy RC initiative which includes more sustainable energy, said Mayor Dennis Michael.
“The possibility of wind energy offsetting residential and commercial costs had resulted from the three components of our Healthy RC program: Healthy Mind, Healthy Body, Healthy Earth,” Michael said. “Healthy Earth deals with sustainable green communities. With energy costs continuing to escalate, we’ve amended our development code to allow persons with large parcels to apply for a wind energy permit.”
The development code amendment outlines several standards for the wind energy systems. Freestanding towers must stand no taller than 40 feet and without the use of “guy wires.” Towers must be of a non-reflective, unobtrusive color, and are limited to one per parcel. Roof mounted systems in permitted residences should not exceed 15 feet in height above the structure below and are limited to two per parcel.
In permitted industrial areas, the towers are allowed to be no taller than 80 feet, or no taller than 15 feet if mounted on a rooftop. Freestanding systems are limited to two per parcel, and roof-mounted systems are limited to four per parcel.
The city also set standards to deal with abandoned towers. Any wind energy system that is not used for a consecutive 12-month period, according to the new development code, will be deemed abandoned. The property owner or permittee is required to remove the system, clear the site of all equipment, and restore the site to its prior condition.
Staff, according to a report on the energy systems, will use the proposed code changes to study the feasibility of expanding wind energy systems to larger applications, including allowing them in more zoning districts or allowing larger scale wind energy systems. “This is something we want to do more research on,” said Jennifer Nakamura, associate planner for the city. “This is a start to how we want to address these types of systems because we’ve had residents who have approached us about them.”
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