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Pingree sets new rules for renewable energy devices  

Wind turbine towers on lots less than one acre can be no taller than the height of the home, plus 10 percent. The tallest allowed is 125 feet, and those only on lots of five acres or more. None can be located in the front yard.

Credit:  By Ryan Klassy For The Courier-News April 4, 2013 | couriernews.suntimes.com ~~

PINGREE GROVE – Village trustees passed an ordinance that allows equipment for renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal to be used by residents.

The seven members of the village’s planning and zoning commission have been working on the plan since last November. They held two meetings and a public hearing before making a recommendation to the board.

The ordinance amends the village’s zoning rules and puts an end to a moratorium on alternative energy equipment use, put in place more than a year ago to allow village officials to study the issue. The ordinance has provisions for single-family, multi-unit and public buildings.

Setbacks, size, height and engineering and permitting standards are described for building-mounted and free standing wind turbines, solar panels, and geothermal units that use energy from the earth itself.

Wind turbine towers on lots less than one acre can be no taller than the height of the home, plus 10 percent. The tallest allowed is 125 feet, and those only on lots of five acres or more. None can be located in the front yard.

Bernie Thomas was the only trustee to vote no on the measure. He described the ordinance as too restrictive.

Village attorney Dean Frieders pointed out that a structural engineer’s approval is required before installing some systems and certain restrictions mean that not all properties qualify.

“There are lots in the village that are not eligible for many of these systems, because of the required fallbacks so you don’t have a windmill landing in someone’s house, or yard,” said Frieders.

Frieders said no permits currently are pending for this type of structure. He said it has been several years since the village board received a request to install such a system and it was that request that got village officials discussing the topic. They feel they are now ready if residents show interest.

“It’s anticipated that the costs of these systems will continue to come down,” Frieders said. “Based on what other communities have seen, this is likely to be in the pipeline in the next several years.”

He added, “These regulations are appropriately tailored to the village and narrowly tailored for permitting alternative energy use and being green and forward thinking, but also protecting property values and avoiding public safety concerns.”

Trustee Ray LaMarca made the motion to approve the ordinance, and said it is something he’s been waiting for since he moved to Pingree Grove.

“I think it’s important to have as an option,” LaMarca said. “I think if you have an ordinance in place people can start to investigate and see what works. Someone could say, ‘Here’s a solar panel that is approved and works; here’s what the cost saving are,’ and it just goes from there.”

LaMarca added, “It’s a small community that talks, but since there was no ordinance, residents may not have been looking into what could be done.”

Source:  By Ryan Klassy For The Courier-News April 4, 2013 | couriernews.suntimes.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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